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Kb 96 so 

« ' .1 

The Journal of a 
Neglected Wife 

Mabel Herbert Urner 

Now York 

B. W. Dodge <£ Company 



.."\ ; 'VbkV,TY| 

^ * a J ^ 


Copyright, 1909, by 

Registered at Stationer* 9 Hall, London 
(All Eights Reserved) 

Printed in the United States of America 



April 15th 
Is he with her again to-night? Since 
ten o'clock I have been watching at the 
library window. I try to sit quietly in 
my room and read or sew, but in a few 
moments I find myself back at the win- 
dow, gazing down the street, hoping 
breathlessly that each coming figure will 
be he. And then always my heart sinks 
sickeningly when the street-lamp at the 
corner shows it to be some passing stran- 
ger. And yet how little difference it 
makes whether he comes now or an hour 
later! I feel that he is with her — that he 
has been with her all evening. It always 
brings that sickening weight in my chest. 


and a trembling weakness like that of 

April 18th 

How much longer can I bear this? If 
only I could go to some one for advice or 
help — to be able to unburden it all! But 
that is impossible. How can I confess to 
any one that for over a year my husband 
has been infatuated with another woman? 
It would only add to my sense of degra- 
dation to know that any one shared my 

April 81st 

I feel sure that he has not seen her for 
several days. I am happier and more 
hopeful than I have been for weeks. 

April JJd 
At dinner he asked if I would not like 
to go to the theater. There was a note 
almost of apology in his voice, as though 
there had come to him a sudden realization 
of how rarely he had taken me anywhere 
of late. But I felt that one of our old 


home evenings might bring us nearer than 
any theater. So after dinner he read to 
me as he used to do. I have always loved 
our library, the dark woodwork, the soft 
rich colors of the hangings and rugs. And 
to-night, as he sat beside the shaded light, 
with the gas logs sending flickering shad- 
ows over the room, I had some of the 
old feeling of pride and security in my 
home. Surely no other woman could per- 
manently come between my husband and 
his home. I am sure he has not seen her 
now for over a week. And yet I am 
almost afraid to hope. . . • 

April 25th 
He was with her again last night. He 
said he was detained at a stockholders' 
meeting. But I know — I know! What 
shall I do? Have I the strength to bear 

April 27th 
My worst fears are verified. Oh, 
Horace, Horace, how can you degrade me 



so ? How can you come home reeking with 
another woman's perfume? What have I 
ever done that I must bear such humilia- 
tion? And I must bear it in silence — I 
must pretend to be blind. Once he knows 
that I know I would have to leave him. If 
there is in me any vestige of womanly 
pride I could not continue to live with 
him and tacitly consent to be daily dis- 
honored. And I have not the courage to 
leave him — to face life alone. Before that 
thought my mind cowers in sickening 

It was almost dawn this morning when, 
after a sleepless night, I went into the 
bath-room for some bromide. The door 
that led into his room was partly open. I 
could see that he was asleep, his face 
turned from me, one arm thrown over his 
head. His coat hung on a chair near by. 
The desire to touch it, to breathe in the 
faint fragrance of cigars that I knew it 
would hold, to comfort my poor starved 
soul with at least this semblance of near- 



ness to him, made me stoop over, lift the 
coat from the chair and bury my face 
against it. And then! Oh, the sickening 
knowledge that came to me then! From 
the arm and shoulder of the coat came a 
faint perfume, elusive, subtle, and yet un- 
mistakably a perfume. . . . 

He had held her in his arms! On the 
shoulder where her head had rested was 
the odor most perceptible. It was true, 
then. I held in my hands the proof of 
his unfaithfulness. I never realized be- 
fore how much I had hoped against hope; 
how in spite of all evidence I had clung 
to the hope that I might be wrong — that 
it might be only friendship. But now 

April 28th 
Sometimes I feel that I would have 
suffered less if he had died. 

April 80th 
In what way have I failed him? What 
can this other woman give that I cannot? 



I have gone back over the fifteen years of 
our marriage. What is lacking in me that 
I have not held the love of my husband? 

May 1st 
It is a perfect spring morning. The 
soft air blows inward the white curtains 
of my bedroom, bringing in the noises of 
spring from the street — the pedler's cry 
of "fresh fruits and vegetables," the tinkle 
of a distant hand-organ, and the shrill 
cries of children. From somewhere come 
the sound of hammering and the smell of 
paint — a suggestion of building — a fa- 
miliar note of spring; one can almost 
breathe in the odor of newly cut lumber. 
The sunlight is dazzling, and the tree be- 
fore our house is a-flutter with chirping 
sparrows. Everything seems teeming 
with the possibilities of life — new life. 
And yet how old and worn and faded I 
feel in all this fresh spring brightness! 
I can understand now how spring can 
be the saddest season of the year for those 


who are old and hopeless. It is the sea- 
son of youth, of hope, of expectancy. And 
I — I belong to the fall, with its fading, 
withering leaves. I am filled with bitter- 
ness and rebellion. I want to shut it all 
out — all the sunlight and joy. If I could, 
I would make it a dark, bleak day in fall — 
the fall that is symbolic of decay, the 
withering and dying out of all things. 

May 3d 
If I could feel that she was some ordi- 
nary woman of the chorus-girl type, how- 
ever keen the humiliation might be, I 
would still feel that it was an infatuation 
that would not last. But I know he could 
never care for a woman of that kind. He 
could never overcome his innate loathing 
of all that is coarse and vulgar. Whoever 
she is, she must be, outwardly at least, a 
refined woman, a gentlewoman. I spend 
anguished hours in wondering what she 
is like, in trying to picture her. I have 
no clue except that one unsigned note I 


found last winter, and now this elusive 
perfume. ... 

May 8th 

I dread this summer so. The thought 
of going to the seashore, of having Horace 
come out only about twice a week, and 
all the rest of the time not knowing where 
he is — feeling that he may be with her — 
how can I go through that? And yet I 
cannot stay in town all summer. I never 
have before; it would seem so strange. A 
jealous, suspicious, watchful wife — oh, I 
do not want to become that! At what- 
ever cost, I must go away as usual — for 
a few weeks, at least. 

May 9th 

Every day he is growing farther and 
farther away from me. He is hardly ever 
at home now. And he has almost ceased 
to make excuses for his absence. 

May 10th 
The thought that many other wives have 
to endure all this, and perhaps more, does 


not help me. He has always seemed so 
much a part of me, so different from the 
men that figure in newspaper scandals of 
intrigues and divorce. 

May 15th 

At breakfast Horace said something 
about what plans I had thought of for 
the summer. I said as long as it remained 
this cool, it seemed just about as com- 
fortable here, but I supposed later on we 
would go to the Sea Cliff Hotel at South 
Hampton, where we were last summer, 
unless he had something else to suggest. 
He said he thought South Hampton was 
as accessible as any place we had ever been, 
and that we would probably be as well 
satisfied there as anywhere. And that was 
all that was said — we made no plans or 
decided on no date. 

How different from other years, when 
we enjoyed planning and talking it over 
weeks ahead, when we looked forward with 
such pleasure to our outings together. 
But now everything seems strained and 



forced. Oh, Horace, how few interests 
we have come to have in common— how 
fast you are drifting away from me I 

May 18th 
I was straightening up some books and 
magazines in the library this morning. 
Under some papers on Horace's desk I 
found a large, heavy envelope with the 
crest and name of a well-known pho- 
tographer. It was not sealed, and I drew 
out the photograph. It was a picture of 
Horace. The likeness was perfect — the 
poise of head, the clear, dark eyes, the 
stern mouth, the wavy hair pushed care- 
lessly off the forehead. 

At first I was filled with joy; he had 
no recent pictures, and I had so long want- 
ed him to have some taken. And now 
this was so marvelously real — so much bet- 
ter than any he ever had before. And then 
as other thoughts rushed suddenly upon 
me, they brought that faint, sick feel- 
ing. . . • 



It was for her he had had them taken. 
To me he had not even mentioned them; 
it was only by chance I found this one. 
Again I looked at the photographer's sig- 
nature; it was that of a famous artist; the 
picture was exquisitely finished, a dark 
platinum print on a heavy gray mounting. 

I slipped it back into the envelope and 
left it on the desk. No, I would not keep 
it. I would not have him give me one 
merely because he must. 

May 19th 

I had determined not to speak about 
that photograph. And yet to-night at 
dinner I did; I seemed powerless to keep 
back the words. If I had only said frank- 
ly that I had found the photograph and 
wondered why he had not spoken of it, 
that would not have been so bad. But the 
thing I did say was so tactless — it showed 
so plainly my suspicions. It was just 
before we left the table, when I asked 

"Have we reached the stage where you 



do not trouble even to tell me when you 
have some pictures taken?" 

I saw his face change instantly. It was 
several seconds before he looked up, and 
then he said slowly: 

"I am sorry, Mary, but I have been 
very busy and absent-minded lately." 
There was a pause, and then he added : "I 
had them taken for the Lawyers' Associa- 
tion; they are bringing out an illustrated 

There was another pause, and then: 

"I think there is one upstairs now in 
the library, if you care to have it." 

"Yes, there is one up there," I answered 
coldly. "That is where I saw it." 

Ellen came in with the coffee then, and 
nothing more was said. I did not say I 
wanted the picture, nor did he mention it 
again. But this morning I found it in 
my room on the dressing-table. 

"For the Lawyers' Association"! No 
doubt they will publish one, but I cannot 
believe that is why he had them taken, 
1 12 J 


I know that often his picture has been 
requested for similar purposes, and he has 
never bothered to comply. And now — 
now I feel that these were taken for her. 
And I believe if I had not found this one 
he would never have mentioned them to 

May 24th 
Oh, what a pitiful thing it is to depend 
so completely on any one person for hap- 
piness! Had I only the courage to go 
away — to leave him a note saying that if 
he loves this other woman I want him to 
be with her. In desperate moments I have 
planned this note over and over again. 
But I have not the strength. He has made 
up my life for so long. To give him up 
now would be like tearing my very soul 

And even if I could force myself to go 
away, how could I live? I hate this 
thought, and yet it is often in my mind 
now. I have not enough money of mjr 



own, and if he were living with another 
woman I could not take money from him. 
My whole nature would revolt at that. 

What work could I do that would earn 
my living? Lately I have been taking the 
newspaper to my room, and with a sick 
heart searching the help columns! But it 
is always young women that are wanted, 
women of eighteen to thirty — not women 
of forty-five. And even if it were not for 
the age — how few things I could do! I 
know nothing of stenography, type* 
writing, bookkeeping, and these are the 
things that are wanted. What could I 
do? How could I live? I loathe myself 
for even thinking of this phase of it— ■ 
and yet, how can I help it? 

May 26th 

This trembling, nervous, frightened 
feeling that I have had so much lately 
became almost unendurable to-day. Even 
Horace noticed at breakfast how pale I 
was, and how my hand trembled as I held 
my cup. He said he would stop at Dr. 


Martin's on his way downtown and have 
him come to see me. I am afraid of 
Dr. Martin's keen eyes, so I tried to 
persuade Horace not to send him. But 
he insisted; said I had not looked well for 
several days. For several days! Oh, my 
dear husband, how blind you have been! 
You have not seen that for months I have 
been sick — sick with a broken heart, the 
most horrible sickness a woman can have. 

May 28th 
Dr. Martin came yesterday. I an- 
swered his questions vaguely, tried to make 
light of it, said I was merely a little nerv- 
ous and unstrung. But he waived all my 
evasions and asked bluntly: 

"Mrs. Kennedy, what is worrying you?" 
At that I burst into tears — hysterical 
tears. I could not help it. He was very 
kind, and did not press me with questions. 
Perhaps he knew it would be useless. He 
left a "tonic," and said he would call again. 
I wonder what he thinks ? He sees so much 


of life. And yet he has known Horace 
and me for so long; there has always been 
such a quiet dignity about our home and 
our life. 

For a moment the longing to confide 
in him was very strong. The relief it 
would be to tell some one of this misery — 
to unburden my heart of it all ! But after- 
ward, to know that any one shared my 
secret would only deepen my degradation. 
I must go on bearing it alone. 

May 31st 
This morning I happened to go into 
his room before the maid had straightened 
it. He had been shaving; the odor of bay 
rum was still in the room. The bed was 
just as he had left it — the covers thrown 
back, showing the impression of where he 
had lain. I threw myself down, kissing 
passionately the pillow and the sheet, try- 
ing to believe they still held some of the 
dear warmth of his body. Closer and 
closer I pressed my face against the pil- 



low where his head had been, to which 
clung the faint odor of his hair. Oh, how 
starved I was for this! How often, when 
he used to lie asleep beside me, have I 
crept nearer to him just to breathe that 
fragrance of his hair! 

One reads of the allurements, the sen- 
suousness, the intoxication of certain per- 
fumes. Can any distilled manufactured 
essence be so wonderful as the faint flesh 
odors of the man you love? 

When I rose from that bed it was as 
though I had been drinking wine — some 
rare sweet wine that thrilled me through 
and through. I caught up his silver hair- 
brushes from the chiffonier and pressed 
them against my cheek. I wanted more — 
more — to steep myself deeper in that in- 
toxicating odor of himself. It seemed to 
bring him nearer to me — nearer than he 
had been for months. 

And then I moved around the room, 
touching everything that belonged to him 
•-everything seemed charged with the 


wonder of his personality. Later, when 
the maid came up, I sent her away. I 
was filled with an unreasoning jealousy, 
a resentment of her intimacy with his room, 
his clothes. I resolved that hereafter I 
alone would care for them. 

June 2d 
I have been looking in the mirror at my 
worn, lined face. The tragedy of age for 
a woman! When the years take from her 
youth and beauty, why do they not take, 
too, her longing for love? Why do 
they mercilessly leave her with a young 
heart and a faded face? 

[18 J 


Sea Cliff Hotel, June 10th 
The heat became so intolerable last 
week that there was no longer any excuse 
for remaining in town. Horace came out 
with me Friday and stayed until this 
morning. We were together more in these 
three days than we have been for months, 
but that strained consciousness was always 
between us. I found myself continually 
striving to make things more natural, and 
only succeeded in making them more con- 
strained. I could feel Horace's dis- 
quietude and anxiety to return, even 
though he was careful not to show it in 
any way. 

This morning when he left I think I 

felt something like relief — relief that I 

could relax, that I need no longer strain 

to be cheerful and natural, to struggle 



against the blank silence that seemed al- 
ways to hover over us. 

But he had been gone only a few hours 
when I began to long for him again, to 
feel that I had managed things badly, to 
think of what I might have said and done 
that would have brought us nearer. I am 
filled with a miserable sense of failure; 
in these three days I had a chance to be 
very near him, and I failed to use it wisely. 
And now I am anguishing over my lost 

He will be back Saturday to stay until 
Monday. Can I make it different then, 
or as soon as I see him will some restraint 
come upon me and make me dumb, or give 
a fatal self-consciousness to everything I 
say or do? 

June 11th 

I have not realized until to-day how 
completely I have isolated myself from 
every one in the past six or eight months. 
I have never entertained or gone out ex- 
tensively; my home and Horace have al- 


ways filled my life. And yet we have a 
very pleasant circle of friends, with whom, 
until this year, I have kept in touch 

But now by not returning calls, by re- 
peatedly sending regrets to invitations for 
luncheons and teas, I have gradually with- 
drawn from it all. I did not do this con- 
sciously — each time I would think: "I 
haven't the heart to go this week — perhaps 
next week I will feel different." But next 
week the thought of any social exertion 
would be just as distasteful. : 

How abrupt and discourteous in many 
instances this must have seemed I did not 
consider until to-day, when Mrs. Ham- 
mond and her daughter entered the dining- 
room and passed my table with the most 
formal greetings. Then I remembered 
two calls and a dinner invitation that I 
fear I did not even acknowledge. They 
are nice people, whom we have met here 
for two summers. After breakfast I 
joined them on the veranda, and told Mrs, 


Hammond that I had been ill much of the 
winter, and apologized for my really un- 
pardonable delinquency. She was very 
pleasant, and we talked for quite a while; 
but except when she spoke of her husband 
and children I was not interested. 

Later, when I walked down by the beach 
alone, I realized more than ever before 
how much I have changed. The things 
that used to interest me seem now empty 
and meaningless. I have but one line of 
thought — always of her. It has become 
an obsession. 

Has Horace grown wholly indifferent 
to me that he does not see how I have with- 
drawn from everything? Does he not see 
that not only has our life together 
changed, but that I have no other life — 
no other interests at all now ? 

June 12th 

After luncheon I took some magazines 

down to the beach and stayed there until 

dusk. But I did not read ; all through the 

long sunny afternoon I gazed dreamily 



out over the blue stretch of sea to the far 
horizon dotted with tiny white sails. 
There was no surf; only a soft lapping of 
small waves broke the warm, brooding 

Always the sea has rested me, but never 
before have I so needed the quieting peace 
and serenity that came to me to-day. For 
a few hours I was granted a respite from 
the torturing thoughts of all these months, 
a sense of detachment from all things ex- 
cept the influences about me — the warmth, 
the sunny silence, the deep blue and mys- 
terious immensity of the sea, the atmos- 
phere of tranquillity that was over it all. 

June ISth 
I am restless and anxious again. I have 
been down to the beach hoping the sea 
would have the same soothing effect of 
yesterday. But the waves were higher to- 
day; there was a turbulent note in their 
depths as they foamed against the shore. 
A large excursion steamer was passing 
with its brass band, its waving flags and 


crowded decks. The whole atmosphere 
was different. I returned to the hotel with 
a bitter sense of disappointment. Why 
is it that one can never go back— can never 
live over again even the impressions of 
an hour? 


I have cut this sketch from a current 
magazine and am pasting it here. I want 
to keep it — to have it remind me that some 
marriages hold greater unhappiness than 



I am going to write you the truth. The truth 
that for five years I have hid with lies and de- 
ceit and trickery. I hate you — I hate you — 
I loathe you. Oh, what a relief it is to say it, 
to write it, to put it into words. Sometimes 
I have felt that I must shriek it out to you. But 
I haven't — oh, no, instead I have smiled and 
said nice little things, loving little things. How 
I have fooled you ! That has been my one com- 
pensation, it has been to me a fiendish joy — the 


thought that I have fooled you so completely — 
you, who pride yourself on your discernment, 
your penetration, your keen insight and knowl- 
edge of womep. How I have gloated over this 
and longed for the time when I might hurl it at 
you, and you would know how you have been 
fooled and duped and tricked by a woman — the 
woman who is your wife. Oh, yes, I married 
you willingly enough. I was not eighteen and 
had seen no other men. I thought you very 
great and strong and noble, and was proud and 
happy that you should care for me. 

And now — now, when I look into my heart at 
the blackness and bitterness and wretchedness 
there — I smile grimly and think of the girl of 
five years ago. No, I don't shudder and weep ; 
I did at first, but I have passed that now. 

I remember just before the wedding ceremony 
I ran up to my own room, the room where all 
the beautiful dream-life of my girlhood had 
been spent, and I knelt by the bed and thanked 
God that this great happiness had come to me, 
and vowed a little vow that all my life I would 
strive to be worthy of it. Worthy of it! 
Worthy of it ! It is only lately that I have de- 
veloped a sense of humor. For a long time I 
failed to see in it any humor. But I do now ; it 
is really very funny if you know how to look at 


it. Sometimes I feel an infinite pity for that 
girl, that innocent, ignorant girl that was once 
myself. But more often it is a boundless con- 
tempt for the girl who was such a little fool. 

I have played my part well. You have never 
dreamed that I have hated and loathed you 
with an intensity that few women could feel. 

When you read this, your first thought will 
be that I have loved some one else. To you 
that will seem the only explanation possible, 
the only one that you could understand. But I 
have loved no one. I have been absolutely true 
to you. Not from any sense of right or duty 
or loyalty — for I have had none; but simply 
because my hatred for you has so consumed me 
that I have had thought for nothing else. 

They say that suffering softens and ennobles, 
that it makes one more kindly and gentle and 
humane. That is a lie. Instead it hardens and 
embitters and degrades. 

Last month when you telegraphed from De- 
troit that the case was settled and you were 
returning at once, instead of staying the ten 
days you planned, I tore that message into 
strips and I swore — swore. I had been cheated 
out of ten days of freedom, of release from 
you, and the strange words came with amazing 
ease. It was not until afterward that I realized 


what I had said, and then I felt no regret, only 
a grim sense of humor. 

Sometimes I have stood before my mirror in 
wonder that the slight, delicately refined woman 
reflected there should be the woman I know 
her to be. 

And now — I am going away. I could shriek 
aloud with joy when I think that I shall never 
see you again — your hands, your voice, the way 
you walk, each individual thing about you which 
I hate with an individual hate. 

T^hat shall I do? How shall I support my- 
self? I do not know. My accomplishments are 
not of the bread-winning kind, and yet I shall 
manage somehow. I can scheme and lie and 
deceive with the greatest ease and proficiency. 
Oh, yes, I have learned a number of useful if 
not admirable traits, and I shall not hesitate 
to use them. The girl of five years ago would 
probably have starved; the woman I am now 
will not starve. 

I sjiall leave this on the pin-cushion. That is 
the proper place, is it not? And when you read 
it you must turn deathly white, clutch at a 
chair and cry, "My God!" With your florid 
complexion you may have some difficulty in 
turning white, but then you can try. It would 
add much to the effect. 




Thursday Morning 
Deau John — I am sending by express the 
heavy underwear and that old shooting jacket 
you wrote for. I am glad that game is so plen- 
tiful there, but am sorry your rheumatism is 
worse. You had better get that prescription 
filled that Dr. Brown gave you last winter; it 
helped you almost at once. 

Of course, I am disappointed that you are 
going to stay another week, for you know I 
miss you dreadfully. But then you really need 
the rest, and I am sure it will do you good. So 
do not hurry back. 

I telephoned down to the office this morning, 
and told them to continue forwarding your 
mail. I will write you again to-morrow. 
Your loving wife, 


This is more ghastly than anything I 
have ever known. For a woman to live 
with a man she loathes, even though in a 
way he may care for her, is more hideous 
than to live with a man she loves, though 
his love for her has ceased. 

In the last there is always the hope, the 



possibility that she may win back his love. 
In the first there is nothing — nothing but 
debasing horror and repulsion, ". . . your 
hands, your voice, the way you walk — each 
individual thing about you which I hate 
with an individual hate." 

Oh, it must be unspeakable degradation 
for any woman to live in the intimacy of 
marriage with a man for whom she feels 
such physical repulsion! 

June 14th 

Horace comes to-morrow at five! I am 
filled with the hope that these two days 
here alone will bring us a little nearer to- 
gether. Just the fact of his coming out to 
spend the week-end with me as he has 
done so many summers makes things seem 
more as they used to be. It has given me 
a feeling almost of assurance — of confi- 
dence. Just now the menace of this wom- 
an does not seem quite so strong, quite so 
real. For after all he is coming out to me 
as he always has. Surely that means a 
great deal. 



June 15th 
Horace is here. I went down to the sta- 
tion to meet the five train. It was a few 
moments late, and as I waited my heart 
heat fast with hopes, plans, resolutions. I 
would greet him as I always used to — I 
would crush down this reticence, this re- 
straint that had come between us. And 
perhaps he would respond — he would be 
as he was! It might even be that . . . 
The train had drawn in. Almost at 
once I Saw Horace's tall figure coming 
through the crowd toward me. He greet- 
ed me kindly; oh, yes, he was kind — deadly 
kind! But how quickly the hope died out 
of my heart, and again this weight of hope- 
lessness and despair settled over me. He 
had come because it was his duty to come; 
he was kind because that was part of his 
duty, too. As I walked beside him to the 
hotel, I forced myself to make some trivial 
inquiries about the house, about Ellen. 
Through dinner the same constraint was 
upon us. Now he has gone for a walk by 


the beach. He asked me if I cared to go, 
but I knew he would rather go alone. 

Home, June 18th 

Sunday night the Sea Cliff Hotel was 
burned to the ground. Two chamber- 
maids and a colored porter were killed, and 
many were injured. Oh, it was horrible! 
I can still see the flames against the black 
sky and hear the screams of fright and 
crash of falling walls. 

I was awakened by Horace: "Mary, 
get something on quickly as you can — you 
won't have time to dress!" 

I started up bewildered, terrified; the 
room was already full of smoke, and the 
roar and crackling of flames could be 
plainly heard. My first thought was for 
my journal and jewel-case. I ran to the 
dresser and slipped them into a small 

"Never mind your things," Horace's 
voice came sternly. "Put something 
around you — quick!" 



The smoke was thickening, sounds of 
voices and rushing feet came from the hall. 
Some one pounded on our door with the 
cry of "Fire!" and the knock and cry were 
repeated down the hall. Horace, who was 
only partially dressed, caught me in his 
arms, jerked a blanket from the bed and 
wrapped it around me. As he threw open 
the door, a cloud of black smoke rushed in 
upon us. The elevators were not running, 
and a struggling crowd of half -dressed 
people choked the stairway at the end of 
the hall. Carrying me easily, Horace 
turned toward a dim red-globed light, 
which marked a fire-escape at the end of 
the passage. The way led through a linen- 
rOom, the door of which was already open. 

When he stepped through the window 
on the ladder-like structure I could see the 
flames leaping up from below, and a 
shower of sparks fell over us. 

"Not this way — let us go back!" I cried, 
struggling to slip from his arms. But he 
only held me closer. 



"There is no other way, Mary." 

The quiet strength of his voice reassured 
me. From below came the heavy pump- 
ing of engines, the shouts of firemen, and 
the screams of some hysterical woman. 
We were on the eighth floor; steadily, 
firmly, he carried me down that steep, nar- 
row fire-escape. The heat was almost un- 
bearable. Horace drew the blanket over 
my face to protect it from the falling 
sparks. The last flight was through the 
very flames themselves — even through the 
blanket I could feel their scorching heat. 

When we reached the ground some one 
helped Horace unwrap the hot blanket 
from about me, and I stood in my bare 
feet on the water-soaked ground, among a 
network of fire hose, and with only a thin 
negligee over my night-dress. Again 
Horace lifted me in his arms and carried 
me through the crowd, across the street to 
a porch of one of the cottages. 

Every one was very kind ; we were given 
a room in the cottage, and a doctor was 



soon there dressing Horace's burns. His 
neck and shoulders were cruelly blistered. 
He had had no coat, and a thin linen shirt 
was no protection from that fierce heat. 

At his dictation I wrote a number of 
telegrams, one for Ellen to come out on 
the first morning train with clothes for us 
both, and one for his office. 

It was almost dawn before I could per- 
suade him to lie down. I lowered the 
shades of the little cottage bedroom, and 
then threw myself on a couch at the foot 
of the bed. 

As I watched the flickering shadows 
from the dim lamp on the dressing-table, 
I lived over again all the terrors of that 
night. If it had not been Sunday — if 
Horace, with his calm, quiet strength, 
had not been there! 

What ghastly thoughts come to one at 
times! And one came to me then, the hid- 
eous thought of how easy it would have 
been for Horace not to have awakened me ! 
Many men have killed their wives for the 


love of some other woman ; and he had only 
to let me sleep! Desperately I tried to 
think of something else — to crush out a 
thought so cruelly unjust to him. And 
then came another — almost as hideous : If 
in some way she had been there! If he 
could have saved only one — and had to 
choose between us — which would it have 

There flashed through my mind the 
incident of a prominent man, upon 
whom such a choice had been forced. He 
was rowing several miles from shore with 
his wife and her younger sister, whom it 
had long been rumored that he loved. A 
storm arose suddenly, and the boat cap- 
sized. He could swim so great a distance 
carrying only one, and it had been the 
woman he loved — not his wife — that he 
had saved. 

I sprang from the couch in physical pro- 
test against the horror of such thoughts. 
Had not the night been fearful enough? 
Why must I now be haunted in this way? 


"Are you still nervous, Mary? Won't 
you come over and lie beside me?" 

My heart leaped. I did not speak for 
fear of the joy and love in my voice. As 
I lay down by his side with my head 
upon the arm he had stretched out for me 
across the pillow, a great sense of peace 
and rest stole over me. All thoughts but 
that of his nearness left me. It had been 
so long since I had lain like that, and now 
it was as though I had come home — home 
— after months of weary yearning and 
wandering. The dear warmth and 
strength of his body seemed to draw from 
me all the aching weariness and heartsick- 
ness of this long year, and soothed me with 
a wonderful rest and content. 

After a while he moved his head slight- 
ly, so that his lips touched my hair. 

"Mary, tired, brave little woman," he 
murmured softly. And then slept quietly 
with his lips still against my hair. 

And I know that I would gladly go 
through again all the terrors of that night 


to feel once more the peace and joy and 
nearness that came to me then. 

June 21st 
I have made my nervousness about the 
fire an excuse for not going anywhere else 
this summer. I told Horace yesterday 
that we might make a number of week-end 
trips to near-by resorts, but that I did not 
care to go anywhere and stay alone dur- 
ing the week. He said he wanted me to 
do whatever I felt would make me most 
comfortable. He has been very kind and 
gentle since that night. Was it the near- 
ness of death that brought us closer, that 
made him feel all that I had been in his 
life? If I could only know what passed 
through his mind as he carried me down 
that fire-escape! 



June 23d 
I have been looking at a picture of 
Horace, taken when he was about ten years 
old. What a serious little boy he was, 
standing there by a chair in that quaint 
velvet suit, his hair combed back very 
straight and smooth from his earnest lit- 
tle face! How he laughed over this pic- 
ture when I found it among his things soon 
after our marriage! And I have another, 
taken when he was in college, a tall, slim 
youth, with the same earnest face and 
grave, dark eyes. 

There is a feeling almost of exultation 
that these pictures are mine — wholly mine. 
He can give her none like them, for there 
are no others. And I feel, too, that all the 
memories of his youth belong more to me 


than they ever can to her. I do not think 
he could ever tell her of his boyish dreams 
and aspirations, as he once told them to 

June 25th 
Why are we never honest enough to 
admit that when we are unhappy the un- 
happiness of others is comforting? I have 
heard people say: "If I cannot be happy 
myself, I like to see others around me 
happy." That is not true. We may wish 
it were, but it is not. 

I have just received a letter from Edith 
Carrington, a cousin who lives in Boston, 
and who I have always thought was most 
happily married. She has a beautiful 
home, two beautiful children, and, as I 
always believed, a devoted husband. Late- 
ly in my own desolation I have thought 
with envy of the security and love which 
surrounded her life. And now she writes 
that she has determined to leave her hus- 
band, that for months he had been drinking 


and cruelly mistreating her, and is living 
openly with a well-known actress. Know- 
ing I will read the newspaper accounts of 
the divorce which will soon he instituted, 
she is sending this letter that I may have 
the facts first from her. She writes that 
she is heartbroken — life seems black and 
hopeless, and she don't know how she can 
go on living. 

When I laid down the letter, I knew 
that mingled with the sincere pity and 
sympathy I felt for her was something 
like joy, a fierce joy that her suffering was 
as great as mine. If through any efforts 
of mine I could restore to her her happi- 
ness, there is no sacrifice I would not make 
to do so. But since I am powerless to 
help her, since no thought or feeling of 
mine can either increase or lessen her 
misery, I know that her letter has brought 
me the greatest consolation I have had for 
days. It helps me to know her husband 
has been more cruel to her than Horace has 
been to me. 



June 87th 
To-day a young and beautiful woman 
got on a street-car and took a seat beside 
me. I caught my breath at her almost daz- 
zling beauty. Her skin was marvelously 
white and clear, with a faint rose pink in 
her cheeks. There was not a line or blem- 
ish in her face, and it was the beauty of 
youth and freshness — there was no paint 
nor powder there. She was dressed with 
daring, striking simplicity — a white broad- 
cloth suit, and a plain, white-felt sailor. 

I watched her with a sickening sense of 
envy — almost of hatred. I seemed to feel 
all the lines in my poor, wan, faded face. 
I could not bear to sit beside her. Oh, I 
felt so old — so pitiably old! At the next 
corner I got off and walked home, my 
heart filled with a dumb, hopeless misery. 

June 28th 
What vague, illusive thoughts come to 
one in that half -consciousness just before 
sleep. Last night some such strange 


vagaries filled my mind, and I found my- 
self thinking: "I will hold these — I will 
remember this." But this morning they 
are all gone. I can recall only that it was 
something about Horace, some way out 
of all my wretchedness, some way by which 
I could bring back my old happiness. It 
seemed so clear then, so easy of attain- 
ment. And I remember so well the 
thought that I must not forget — there was 
even a desire to get up and write it down, 
and then came the feeling that I was 
writing it down. And I was filled with a 
great sense of relief that everything would 
come right, and drifted off to sleep. 

Of course, it could have been nothing 
real or tangible, and yet all morning I 
have been trying to recall what it was. 

June 29th 
I must know who she is and where she 
lives. I cannot endure any longer these 
torturing doubts and suspicions. To-mor- 
row I shall follow him. A year ago I 


would have shrunk from such a thought 
with untold horror, but now — I am des- 
perate now. I must know. 

June 80th 
I have just bought a cheap black hat 
and heavy veil. How old it makes me 
look I I know now how kindly my hats 
are to my face; with what art my milliner 
shapes them. But this straight, stiff brim 
cruelly hardens and ages my features. I 
have found a black skirt and coat that I 
have not worn for years and that I know 
he will not recognize. In this disguise I 
will follow him. 

It is over. I have followed him. I know. 
At four o'clock I was in Nassau Street, 
waiting by the door of the great trust 
building in which he has his offices. So 
many people were pouring in and out that 
I was afraid I might not see him, so I 
went inside the large corridor where I 
could watch the elevators. The place 


seemed throbbing, pulsating with the life 
of the business world. The thought that 
my husband was a part, a prominent part, 
of all this thrilled me with a momentary 
sense of pride. 

All these men, hurrying away from their 
offices, well groomed and prosperous, some 
household, the life of some woman, cen- 
tered about each of them. How many of 
them, through neglect and indifference, 
were breaking the heart of that woman? 

At last I saw him step from one of the 
elevators. My pulse throbbed wildly. 
How strange to have him pass me in that 
way — without even glancing toward me! 
Secure in my disguise, I followed closely, 
fearful of losing him in the crowd. 

At the corner he stopped to buy a paper. 
I had thought he would take the subway, 
so I had no difficulty in following him 
there. But when he reached the entrance, 
he hesitated, glanced at his watch, and 
then turned back and crossed the street to 
a drugstore. 



Instinctively I knew it was to telephone* 
— but to whom? Was he going to tele- 
phone me that he would not be home for 
dinner, as he had so often of late? Or 
was the message for her? 

As I passed the drugstore, I could see 
three telephone-booths in the far end. I 
knew he was in one of those booths. The 
flashing thought that I might secure the 
adjoining one and hear the message made 
me enter the store, heedless of the risk. 
Through the glass door of the first booth 
I saw the head and shoulders of a man I 
did not know. In the second was my 
husband. Quickly I slipped into the third. 
At first I could hear nothing, then quite 
distinctly I heard his voice. "Ring them 
again, Central." 

"Hello. This is Mr. Kennedy, Ellen. 
Ask Mrs. Kennedy to come to the 'phone. 
She is out? Well, when she comes in, tell 
her that I have been detained at the of- 
fice and may not be home until late; for 

her not to wait dinner. That's all. Good- 

A pause. Then: "Hello, Central. 
Give me 8205 River." Again a pause. 
"Hello. Oh, why, I am through earlier 
than I thought," with a strange gentle- 
ness in his voice. "I'm on my way up 
now. Yes, in half an hour or less. Yes," 
with a tender little laugh. "Good-by." 

Blindly, with trembling limbs, I fol- 
lowed him from the store, across the street, 
back to the subway. There was a crowd 
at the ticket window. Would he be gone 
before I could get through? A local was 
drawing out — had he taken that? No, 
he was there on the platform, waiting for 
an express. In a moment one dashed in. 
I followed him into the same car. It was 
crowded. I could see that he wassstend- 
ing about the middle of the car. So: 
one had given me a seat near the door, and, 
as the train sped on, I closed my eyes. 
"8205 River!" The number seamed float- 
ing in red and black waves beneath my 


closed lids. That was her telephone! 
From that I could find her address. I 
need not follow him, and yet I knew that 
I would. I had no resistance then against 
the force that was sweeping me on. 

A moment's stop at Fourteenth Street, 
and the train plunged on with a deafening 
roar. Forty-second, Seventy-second — 
where would he get off ? I could see only 
his hand and arm as he held to a strap 
some distance away. His glove was un- 
buttoned and partly turned back, showing 
his wrist. There was something in that 
glimpse of firm white flesh between his 
cuff and glove that strangely increased 
the faintness I was so desperately fight- 

At Ninety-sixth I saw him making his 
way toward the door. Dizzily I followed. 
Out from the subway, across Ninety-sixth 
toward the park. How fast he walked! 
Was he so eager to reach her? A little far- 
ther on and he entered one of the large 
apartment houses that faced the park. 


Everything blurred before me as I walked 
to the end of the block and looked back. In 
some part of that building was my hus- 
band with another woman! Even now he 
was greeting her. . . . 

July 9th 

I have been sick for over a week. That 
day broke me down. 

July 10th 

I have always thought that bpoks in 
which women wring their hands and walk 
up and down the room crying "O God — 
God! What can I do? How can I bear 
it?" are melodramatic and absurdly unreal. 
I know now that they may be very real. 
The hysterical things I now do and say 
when I am alone are more tensely emo- 
tional than anything I have ever read. 

While I was sick, in a strained, awk- 
ward way he was very kind to me. It was 
as though he was trying to make up for 
the infidelities of which he thinks I am 
ignorant. How much longer can I be 



I do not yet know her name. I have 
had no strength for anything more. But 
now with her address and telephone num- 
ber it will not be hard to find the rest, only 
I cannot do it now. 

July 11th 
The nights are so horrible 1 If I could 
only sleep. But for weeks I have lain 
awake until three or four in the morning. 
And all through these long hours my mind 
is going over and over the same thing. 
Night and day the thought of that other 
woman is always with me. 

July 13th 
To-day I did a strange thing. I took a 
car to a cheap boarding-house section of 
the city and looked for a room. I had 
made a list of a few addresses from the 
morning paper, advertising "well-fur- 
nished hall bedrooms, hot and cold water, 
excellent table board." For so long I 
have been haunted with the thought of 
how little I could live on, that to-day I 


felt I must know. I went to all the places 
on my list. The "well-furnished" rooms 
were alike — wretchedly shabby and dingy. 
The battered furniture, the faded carpets, 
the dark halls, and the musty smell of 
cooking! And the dining-rooms, invaria- 
bly in the basement, were unspeakably 
horrible. Long tables with soiled cloths, 
thick plates and heavy glasses, and knives 
and forks with silver worn off. Along 
the center of each table were arranged the 
glass sugar bowls, the blackened catchup 
bottles, the smeared oil and vinegar cruets. 
A hall bedroom and board in these places 
cost from six to seven dollars a week. 

Could I live like that? At each place 
the "landlady" looked curiously at my 
clothes. One of them asked bluntly for 
whom. I wished the room, and I answered 
in confusion: "For a friend." 

July 15th 
Yesterday I asked Horace what year- 
ly interest came from the fifteen hundred 


dollars I received from Cousin Allen's 
estate. He looked up in surprise. "Why, 

Mary, you don't mean that you need " 

And I answered hurriedly: "Oh, no, I 
don't need the money; the amount you give 
me for my own and the household expenses 
is more than enough. I merely wondered 
how much a small sum like that would 
bring in yearly." 

"Let me see: I bought some Missouri 
Pacific with that— did I not? Well, that 

is paying now. I should say that 

would be about a year." 

"And if it were sold outright, how much 
would it bring now?" I asked. 

"Why, somewhere around eighteen hun- 
dred. But what do you mean? You 
never asked such questions before." 

"Oh, nothing. I just had a fancy to 
know how much I had of my very own." 

"Why, you know you have all that 
Western Union stock, don't you? And 
those lots in Brooklyn and that land in 
Ulster County?" 



"Oh, yes, I know that is all what you 
gave me. But I just wondered how much 
Cousin Allen's money would bring/' 

All through dinner he looked disturbed 
and worried. I suppose he has always felt 
that I was well provided for. Evidently 
the thought that if we were ever separated 
I would not touch a cent of his money, 
or of anything he had ever given me, had 
not occurred to him. And yet living with 
me all these years, he ought to know. He 
ought to know that I could never share 
his money with another woman. 

July 17th 
I have written her a letter. Of course, 
I shall never send it. And yet I could 
not help writing it. It was not a bitter 
letter. I only asked if she knew the wretch- 
edness she was bringing into another wom- 
an's life. That fdr me life held nothing 
but my husband. That for her there was 
so much more. I felt that she was young 
and beautiful — that she had the whole 


world to choose from. Why had she taken 
from me all that I had? 

Already I have destroyed the letter, 
and yet the very writing of it was humil- 
iating — corrosively humiliating. That I 
should plead for my husband's love from 
another woman ! Beg from a stranger for 
what is mine — mine by law, by seventeen 
years of love and devotion! Oh, does he 
never think of that — that I have given him 
the best of my life — my youth, my fresh- 
ness? And now that I am faded and old 
he turns from me to a younger, fresher 
face. Is that the nature of man? Are 
all men so ? Then why does God let wom- 
en be born to such anguish? 

July 18th 
I have still made no effort to find out 
her name. I have the feeling now that I 
would rather not know. In a few weeks 
it may be different; I may be again filled 
with that fierce desire to know— to know. 
But now I shrink from knowing any more. 


July 20th 
What weak, inadequate things are let- 
ters of condolence I It seems almost an im- 
pertinence to hope that by a few cheap, 
trite, commonplace words you can soothe 
or alleviate a great sorrow. And yet it is a 
custom that must be followed, lest one's 
silence be mistaken for indiff erence. 

I have just written to Helen Chandler, 
whose husband, George L. Chandler, died 
last week. She has been prostrated since 
his death. She loved him desperately. He 
was kind to her in a way, but he was al- 
ways wild and dissipated. 

July 21st 
This is my birthday. In all these years 
he has never before forgotten; he has al- 
ways brought me flowers. But to-day he 
does not even know. I shall not mention 
it. I want no remembrance that must be 
prompted. Forty-six to-day— and I look 
fifty. Oh, how horribly I have aged in this 
past year! All these sleepless nights have 


carved deep lines in my face. And yet I 
must live on — I must take whatever life 
has in store for me. There is no escape. 

July 22d 
To-night at dinner he spoke of giving 
up the house. Asked what I thought of 
taking an apartment this winter. Said it 
would be less lonely for me when he could 
not get home for dinner. That he often 
felt the uselessness of keeping this big 
house for just us two; it seemed almost as 
though it was kept up more for the bene- 
fit of the servants than anything else. 

When he saw my distress at the thought, 
he said of course it should be as I wished; 
he wanted me to be where I would be most 
happy, but lately he had felt I might be 
happier in a hotel, where I would not be 
so much alone. After that he did not press 
the matter, but I could see he was disap- 

So he wants to give up our house. 
He wants to live at a hotel, where he can 


be more free. It is the beginning of the 

July 24th 

Sometimes I wonder if I could have held 
his love longer had I dressed more and 
been more careful that he should never see 
meunlesslwasattractivelygowned. When 
I look back I am filled with dismay to 
think how often he has seen me when I 
must have been most unattractive. It is 
true that fifteen years of married life have 
made me careless. I remember all the 
lacy, delicate perfumed lingerie of my 
wedding trousseau, and how he used to ad- 
mire them and call them "frilikins." But 
now I wear the plainest and sometimes 
most unbecoming things. I have felt that 
it was unnecessary and even extravagant 
to spend as much money on lingerie; in- 
stead I have put it in the house — in rugs, 
cut-glass and silver — in things I could 

Oh, how foolish I have been! How much 
wiser to have bought some expensive 


morning-gowns than that solid silver tea- 
set this fall. The gowns would have made 
me more attractive every morning at 
breakfast; and the tea-service — I don't 
think he has ever noticed it. 

And in the evening for dinner — how 
rarely I make an effort to dress when we 
are alone. I have a number of charming 
evening-gowns, but I seldom wear them, 
except when we dine out or have some one 
dining with us. What am I saving them 
for? I can have plenty more. Oh, how 
blind I have been ! Why have I worn them 
only for the benefit of others? What do 
I gain from the passing admiration of 
strangers or even friends — compared to 
the admiration of my husband? Is it too 
late to begin anew? Can I ever efface the 
impression years of indifferent dressing 
have made upon him? 

July 26th 
All morning delivery wagons have been 
stopping at our door. The maid has been 


bringing me boxes and packages innumer- 
able. Yesterday I spent the whole day 
in the shops. And now my room is strewn 
with laced and ribboned lingerie — boxes 
and tissue-paper wrappings are every- 
where. And yet how little of the natural 
woman's joy of possession I feel in all 
these dainty things. Perhaps because I 
feel the hopelessness of the cause for which 
they were purchased. One after another 
I examine them; some I try on. An ex- 
quisite pale-blue silk house-gown I fold 
sadly back in its box to be returned. That 
I could never wear; its clear, cold blue is 
made for the freshest, youngest beauty. 
How mercilessly it brings out the sallow- 
ness of my skin and my faded hair. 

A soft lavender is more kindly, and a 
morning-gown of cream white with quan- 
tities of creamy lace is not unbecoming. 
And yet none of them can make me beau- 
tiful; they cannot take from my face the 
signs of age and worry. 

Oh, my husband, why can you not love 


me as I am? If you were to become de- 
formed or pock-marked, it would not 
change my love. Horace, Horace, why 
is your love so different? 

July 27th 
This morning I came down to breakfast 
in one of my usual plain linen shirt-waists. 
For some reason I could not wear any of 
my new negligees. I felt absurdly shy 
and self-conscious, and there was a dread 
that he might divine my motive. I tried 
to pave the way. As I poured his coffee 
I remarked casually that I was going 
shopping to-day, that I had become sud- 
denly possessed with the desire to have 
some new clothes, and lots of them. 

He looked up from his paper and said 
kindly: "Why, yes, why don't you? I 
have always wanted you to have nice 
things. Do you want some money?" I 
laughed and said no, I thought I had 

"Well, if you run short, have them 


charged," he said comfortably, and re- 
turned to his paper. 

It was foolish of me to feel disappoint- 
ed; he was kind and generous; perhaps 
that should have been enough. And yet — 
if there only had been a note of real in- 
terest; if he had made some little request 
for me to get something of some particu- 
lar shade and design. If only he had made 
me feel that he cared! 

July 28th 

This morning I found courage to put 
on one of the daintiest of my new house- 
gowns — a soft lavender crepe. I came 
down to breakfast and waited with beat- 
ing heart for some approving comment. 
It was some time before he noticed it, then 
he said kindly: 

"Is that one of the results of your shop- 
ping tour?" 

I nodded. 

"It is very pretty." 

And that was all. Had he said "that 


shade suits you," or "I like the softness ot 
the lace" — even a slight criticism would 
have shown some interest. But "it is very- 
pretty" meant so little. 

July 29th 
How pitiful are my efforts to make my- 
self attractive; how futile to try to com- 
pete with her in that way ! She has all the 
weapons, all the advantages — youth, beau- 
ty '(for she must be beautiful), and the 
greatest thing of all — the charm of the 

He has never seen her when she was 
ill, or worn out. He has never seen her 
under the countless unfavorable conditions 
that a man so often sees his wife. She 
always knows when he is coming and can 
always be at her best. 



August 1st 

Helen Chandleb has been here all aft- 
ernoon. She was called to town unexpect- 
edly for a few days — something about her 
husband's estate. Said she felt she must 
see me. That she wanted to talk — and felt 
I would understand as no one else could. 

I hardly knew her — she looked so white 
and frail in her heavy crepe. I took her 
upstairs at once, made her lie down, and 
had Mary bring some tea. But she pushed 
the tea aside and began walking up and 
down the room. 

"No — no — I can't rest ! I can't be quiet 
— I want to talk! It will help me more 
than anything else. 

"Oh, I know what you think — what 
every one thinks — that he was a brute— - 


that he drank — that he was untrue to me! 
You wonder why I should grieve so. I 
presume some people think it an affecta- 
tion — my grief, I mean. God! if it only 
were! But I loved him — I loved him! In 
spite of all his dissipations he was never 
unkind to me. He was fond of me in his 
way — his selfish, careless way. But I 
would rather have had what little he gave 
me than the most loyal, faithful devotion 
of the noblest man on earth! 

"Can you reason about love ? If he had 
beat me I would still have loved him. But 
my love never blinded me — don't think 
that. I saw all his coarseness, all his weak- 
ness; I never for a moment idealized him. 
I knew him for what he was — but I loved 

"And now at night I feel that I must 
get up and go to his grave and with my 
bare hands dig down to the coffin and lie 
there with him. He always hated to be 
alone — he always wanted company, life, 


gaiety. And now he is lying there alone— 
done in that dark, silent graveyard. Oh, 
there are times when I feel I must go to 
him — that he is calling me — that I must 
get up out of bed and go to him and stay 
wth him!" 

My face was now as white as hers. I 
felt if she did not stop I would faint. But 
I made no effort to quiet her. I knew it 
would be useless — that she must wear her- 
self out. 

"He was so big and strong — so full of 
life and vitality. Oh, how I loved his 
great, strong body — his vigorous man- 
hood — his physical self. His muscles were 
like iron, and yet his skin was as soft and 
white as a baby's. I used to say it was 
like velvet — white velvet over iron. Oh, 
his body — his milk-white body " 

I don't think I heard any more. It 

seemed to me the room was full of women. 

I could hear the swish of trailing skirts — 

the air seemed charged with the feel of 



women, of flowing hair, of heaving breasts, 
of the anguished love of womanhood. 

At length from sheer exhaustion she 
threw herself upon the couch. I did not 
try to comfort her — I knew too well the 
cheapness, the futility of words. After a 
while she said faintly: "I think I can 
sleep now. It is always like this. After 
I wear myself out there comes a sense 
almost of peace — it is the only peace I 
have. I can't explain it, but it always 
comes. After these violent outbursts I 
feel as though I had been drugged — a 
soothing, quieting drug." 

I stooped over and kissed her. "Don't 
say anything more — try not to arouse your- 
self again — sleep if you can." I darkened 
the room and left her. She slept quietly 
for over an hour. I tried to persuade her 
to stay all night. But she wanted to go 
back home — to their country home where 
he died. Said she had been in town two 
nights, and she wanted to get back — she 
felt nearer him out there. 


August Sd 
"The incessant sadness of life." That 
phrase comes to me so often now. I have 
been standing at the window watching the 
steady stream of traffic in which there are 
so many notes of misery. A wagon filled 
with freshly slaughtered calves, their legs, 
now only bloody stumps, protruding stiff- 
ly from under the burlap covering. And 
I think of the terror in the soft eyes of 
those helpless animals as they were driven 
pitilessly to the ax. Another wagon piled 
high with slatted boxes full of huddling 
chickens. Poor, frightened things, on 
their way to be killed, straining their necks 
through the slats for a breath of air. The 
stolid indifference of the driver as he whips 
up the jaded horse that draws them. The 
clang of the police-patrol as it dashes by, 
a haggard man with a bandaged head in- 

I turned from the window sick at heart. 
The incessant sadness of life! The inces- 
sant sadness of life! 



August 4th 
There is a boarding-house across the 
street from us — the only one in this block, 
where almost every one owns their own 
property. Every evening now, since the 
weather is so warm, the steps of that house 
are full of people. They bring out grass 
mats and sofa pillows and sit on the steps 
and stone balustrades, the cigars of the 
men glowing among the light dresses of 
the women. I think I watch them with 
something like envy, they seem so happy 
and sociable in an easy, unconventional 
way. The sound of their laughter comes 
repeatedly through my open windows. 
Now and then a couple will leave the rest 
and stroll bareheaded down the street. 

To-night they were singing; one of them 
had a mandolin. They began with some 
new popular airs and ended with a num- 
ber of old-fashioned songs — "My Old 
Kentucky Home," "Ben Bolt" and "An- 
nie Laurie." As I sat there by the win- 
dow in my lonely, silent house, those old, 


familiar songs, the summer night — for me 
there was an infinite melancholy about it 
all. All my loneliness and heart-hunger 
seemed intensified. 

The air grew more and more close and 
sultry. Then came a distant muttering 
of thunder, and then some large raindrops. 
The songs ceased and there were little 
shrieks of laughter as the group across the 
street hurried into the house. 

Now it is raining in torrents — a sum- 
mer heat-rain. I can hear it beating upon 
the roof almost like hail. Little rills of 
water are running down the window-pane 
beside my desk. How black it has grown 
— the street-lights are only faint blurs 
through this thick rain-veil. 

And I sit here writing — writing, trying 
only to keep some of the horror of my lone- 
liness away. 

Could Horace have gone out without an 

umbrella? He takes cold so easily. How 

strange a thing is a woman's love! Even 

though she feels her husband is spending 



the evening with another woman, still she 
worries lest he has no umbrella — his 
physical welfare still fills her thoughts. 

August 5th 
How many women past their first youth 
find consolation in the thought of certain 
famous women who were still attractive, 
still admired, late in life! The memory of 
such women as Madame de Stael, Madame 
Recamier and George Sand has instilled 
the hope and comfort in the heart of many 
a faded woman that though time may line 
the face, the charm of personality, intelli- 
gence and wit may still win and hold love. 
The looking-glass may be undeniable 
proof that her face is no longer beautiful, 
but nothing can prove to even the most 
vapid woman that her mentality, grace and 
wit have not the greatest charm. 

Sunday, August 6th 
The telephone just rang. I answered 
it, but no one spoke. Again and again I 


said "Hello !" But there was no response. 
And yet the silence seemed charged with 
a personality — I felt there was some one 
there. Could it be . . . Had she called 
jnd, not hearing his voice, had not an- 
swered? Of course it may have been a 
mistake; Central may have unintentionally 
rung our number. But somehow I feel 
that it was not a mistake. I have that 
strange, weak sensation which always 
comes with anything that relates to her. 

August 9th 
This evening we went out to dinner. 
Until the last year we have always dined 
out at some hotel or restaurant at least 
once a week. But now so rarely we ever 
go anywhere together. Perhaps it was be- 
cause I have eaten so little lately that made 
him suggest the change might do me good. 
I consented eagerly. We went to the 

, a place I have always liked. 

For the first few moments I was almost 
happy— the lights, the music, the gay, 


well-dressed people all around, and my 
husband, gracious and distinguished, 
across from me. Impulsively I reached 
my hand across the table toward him. He 
pressed it slightly and smiled at me kindly. 
I could see that he was trying to respond, 
that he sincerely wanted me to have a hap- 
py evening, that he wanted to give me 
what he could. And I resolved to keep 
the ache from my heart and the choking 
lump from the throat, to try to forget 
everything but that we were together. 

He ordered the dinner with his usual 
quiet discrimination, that always wins in- 
stantly the best attention of the waiter. I 
have never had the same excellent service 
in dining with any one else as with my hus- 
band. He always orders some light wine, 
and to-night it was sparkling Chablis. 

But in spite of both our efforts, for I 
know we both tried, the dinner was 
strained and silent. One of the most piti- 
ful conditions of our life now is that we 
have so little to say. Oh. it is horrible — 


this conscious strained silence that is al- 
ways between us ! If only for one evening 
we could talk — justtfaZfc as we used to do — 
it would help me more than anything in 
the world. 

Feeling the failure of the dinner, he 
asked if I would like to go to the theater. 
The thought that there, at least, we would 
not feel the need to talk, and that I could 
be with him, near him a little longer, made 
me say yes. For I knew if we went home 
it would be to separate; he would go to 
his room and I to mine. 

When we reached the street he bought 
an evening paper, handed it to me with 
the list of the theaters folded out, and 
asked where I would like to go. I glanced 
down the list. There were only three act- 
ors playing that I knew either of us would 
care to see, and they were all in plays 
which from reviews I knew were built 
around the marriage and divorce question 
— the unfaithfulness of either the husband 


or the wife, I finally chose a new play, in 
which the theme was a political one. 

The first act was well advanced when 
we entered ; by the end of the second I was 
rolling and unrolling my program with 
cold, nervous hands. The "political" ele- 
ment was only a background for the 
"problem" — the love of a Senator for a 
woman who was not his wife, a woman 
whom he had known and loved before he 
was married, and whom in his heart he had 
loved ever since. 

The dramatic crisis was in the third act, 
where the woman, in a moment of fierce, 
uncontrollable jealousy, sends his wife one 
of the Senator's love letters — choosing 
with deliberate cruelty the one that will 
hurt her most, a beautiful, impassioned 
love message, written several months be- 
fore on her birthday. There is no address 
or signature, but his wife will know his 
writing — it is unmistakable. 

But she has hardly mailed the letter 
before she is overwhelmed with remorse, 


with bitterest regret for what she has done. 
She must stop its delivery — at any sacri- 
fice she must keep his wife from reading 
that letter! 

It was almost midnight when she mailed 
it — it could not be delivered before morn- 

The next scene, at eight o'clock the fol- 
lowing morning, finds her at the door of 
the Senator's house. She will not give her 
card or name, but there is something in the 
tenseness of her voice and manner that 
makes the servant reluctantly admit her. 
As she waits in the reception-room she 
asks herself fearfully: "If he should re- 
fuse to see her? Should she have risked 
it and sent up her card?" 

And then he enters. When he sees who 
it is, he starts, closes the door and comes 
toward her with outstretched hands. 

"Margaret! What is it, dear?" 

Excitedly she questions him about the 
mail — the first delivery. Has it come yet? 

He answers wonderingly "No," and 


then tenderly : "Is it some letter you have 
written me, dear, that you do not want me 
to read?" 

"If it were only that!" she moans. "If 
it were only that!" 

And then she tells him. He does not 
speak; he stands by a desk, turning a 
paper-weight over and over in his hand. 

Then a whistle — the postman's whistle 
— is heard. The man crosses the room and 
presses an electric bell. A servant enters. 

"You will bring the mail to me here at 
once — all of it." 

"Yes, sir." The maid returns, lays the 
mail on the table and leaves the room. 

The man glances hurriedly through the 
letters and then turns to the woman, who 
is leaning against the wall, her face buried 
in her hands. 

"It is not here!" 

"Not here?" Her voice is full of ter- 

The maid is recalled and questioned. 

She says she brought all the mail ex- 


cept two letters for Mrs. Hampton, which 
she herself took out as she was going into 
the breakfast-room. 

As the maid withdraws the man starts 
violently at some sound in the hall. "Car- 
rie — my wife — she is coming in here!" he 
murmurs huskily. 

"No! no! It would be too horrible! 
Don't let it be!" 

"It is too late now!" he answers, and 
even then the door opens. 

Quickly the woman slips behind a heavy 
curtain. The wife holds an open letter in 
her hand, her face quivering with joy and 

"Oh, Richard — Richard — what a beauti- 
ful letter! That you should have remem- 
bered my birthday in this way! Yester- 
day I was afraid you had forgotten, and 
to-day — oh, it was the most wonderful gift 
you could have sent. And you had the 
envelope typewritten so the surprise 
would be more complete!" She clings to 
him lovingly, showering on him caresses 



and endearments, crying out that she had 
been so unhappy of late, that she felt he 
was growing farther away from her, that 
he no longer cared. And there had been 
a terrible fear in her heart that there might 
be some one else; but now she knows that 
she was wrong, she knows he loves her 
still, or he could not have written that let- 

He gently soothes and quiets her and 
leads her from the stage. 

In the next act follows a wonderful 
scene of renunciation. Realizing as never 
before the piteous, clinging love of his 
wife, and feeling that they could never 
come together over the grave of her hap- 
piness, they resolve to part. 

Only once during the play did I see 
Horace's face, and then it was when he 
stooped to pick up the program my nerve- 
less fingers had dropped. He was very 

We left the theater in silence. Outside 
it was misting. He motioned to a cab and 


helped me in. I was filled with an intense 
longing for him to speak — to say some 
trivial, commonplace thing — anything but 
this silence, which seemed a subtle ac- 
knowledgment — a willingness that I 
should know. . . . We were almost 
home before he spoke, and then it was 
only to ask if he should draw down the 
curtain, if the mist was blowing in on me. 

When we reached the house he made 
some remark about being tired, bade me 
good-night, and went at once to his room. 
What did his silence mean? Did he in- 
tend it for an admission? Did he want me 
to construe it that way? Why did he not 
talk casually of the play, comment on the 
acting or the construction of the. plot, as 
we have always done before? 

It is almost three o'clock. But how 
hopeless to try to sleep I 

August 10th 

This morning I know from his eyes that 
he, too, has not slept. I felt that I would 
regret it, that I would make a mistake if 


I made any reference to the play, and yet 
the hope that he would say something to 
help me, to make me feel that he had not 
wished to convey by his silence what I 
had thought last night, drove me to try to 
force from him some expression. 

"Do you think such things end that way 
in life?" I tried to say it casually. 

"How do you mean?" quietly. 

"The parting in the last act. If a man 
really loves another woman, do they often 
renounce her for the sake of their wife?" I 
did not look up ; I kept my eyes on a crust 
I was crumbling on the tablecloth. 

There was a slight pause, and then he 
answered slowly: 

"I should think that would depend on 
the man's strength." 

"But if he had much strength," my voice 
was measured, "would he have ever al- 
lowed himself to love another woman?" 

"No; I presume not." 

I waited, but he said nothing more. In 
a few moments he glanced at his watch, 


and left for the office. My efforts had 
been futile — his voice and manner had be- 
trayed nothing, 

August 11th 
Am I too self -centered? Do I give way 
to my grief too much? Would another 
woman under the same circumstances have 
more strength? I know how dangerous is 
this constant brooding. I know that I am 
losing all sense of proportion. His slight- 
est word and action I now bring to bear 
always upon one thing. I know that I 
draw suspicions from perfectly innocent 
causes. My mind is so colored that I 
am able to see nothing else. 

And yet how can I help it? I have tried 
to fight against it, to force an interest in 
other things, to drive my mind to things 
outside myself. And yet always the back- 
ground of my thoughts remains the same. 
Never for a moment am I wholly free 
from the consciousness that my husband 
is drifting away from me— that he loves 


another woman. That poisonous thought 
is always with me. 

August 12th 

More and more I have come to take a 
morbid, feverish interest in newspaper ac- 
counts of divorce scandals and intrigues. 
Such things have always repulsed me; 
until lately, I would not even read the 
headlines. But now — now I read all the 
details with a consuming interest. I will 
even read the varying accounts of the same 
case in the different papers. It all fills 
me with loathing, and yet it has this fear- 
ful hold upon me. 

These things that I have always regard- 
ed with such horror are now touching so 
closely my own life. Not the vulgar pub- 
licity, of course; that I feel will never 
come. But the underlying cause is always 
the same — the love of a man for a woman 
who is not his wife. It terrifies me when 
I think that everything in life now seems 
bearing on that — novels, plays — they are 
all built on variations of that theme. 


August 13th 
I was in a bookstore to-day buying some 
stationery, when I saw one of the many 
reprints of a pen-and-ink sketch that have 
been much displayed in the shops. I have 
always thought it gruesome, and passed it 
with a shudder. But to-day I bought one. 
I don't know why. 

From a distance it is the outline of a 
skull; nearer, one sees it is cleverly formed 
by a beautiful woman sitting before a 
dressing-table, the bottles and trinkets be- 
fore her forming the teeth, and the drapery 
over the dresser the top of the skull. 

I have it now on my desk. There is a 
sort of fierce pleasure in thinking that the 
woman Horace loves will one day be a 
hideous, grinning skeleton. All his love 
and devotion cannot save her from that. 
The skeleton is there now — the ugly, 
gaunt bones — if he could only see through 
the soft, fair flesh that covers them. 



August 14th 

Once or twice a year Ellen sends a box 
of clothing to her mother, who, with a large 
family of children, lives in Georgia. They 
are very poor and can make use of any- 
thing that is sent. I always collect a lot 
of my own and Horace's clothes, and it 
was for this purpose that I went through 
some trunks in the store-room to-day. 

In one of the trays I came across a pale- 
blue dressing-gown, one of the garments 
I had myself made for my trousseau. I 
had worn it but a few times, for I always 
felt the neck was cut too low. And now, 
except that the lace had grown yellow, it 
was still fresh. 

How beautifully it was made, with 
what care I had finished each small seam. 
And what hopes and dreams I had sewn 
into it. And now those tiny stitches, fine 
and frail as they were, had outlived my 
happiness! Oh, if I could only go back — 
if I could only go back! 

For a long time I held the gown in my 


lap, brooding over it, filled with the mem- 
ories it brought. How strange to have it 
there before me, every stitch I had put 
into it still so real, so permanent, while all 
that it was made for is dead I 

In the lace of the sleeve was a long, 
jagged tear. Oh, how vividly I remem- 
bered that. It had been torn on Horace's 
cuff-button during our bridal trip. I was 
standing before the dressing-table arran- 
ging my hair, when suddenly he came up 
behind me and caught me in his arms, bent 
back my head against his shoulder, and 
with his lips against my hair, murmured: 
"My darling — my beautiful darling! 
You belong to me now ! You can never go 
back and be just yourself again, for now 
you belong to me — do you know that, 
dear?" My only answer was to press my 
face closer against his breast, and so he 
held me silently. 

When at length he released me, there 
was a sound of tearing lace. "Oh, Mary I 


I'm so sorry!" as he stooped to unfasten 
it from his cuff -button. 

"You needn't be," I laughed happily. 
"As if it mattered — as if anything mat- 
tered but your 

Oh, Horace, Horace, you have torn my 
heart as you tore this lace; neither will ever 
be the same again. You said then I could 
never go back and be just myself. I would 
now if I could, for I know you no longer 
need me. But I cannot — I cannot! You 
made me part of yourself — you taught me 
to want you — to need you . . . 

And now — now you love some one else. 
And I am alone with only my memories. 

August 15th 
I saw him looking at my hands this 
morning. He may have done it absent- 
mindedly. But all through breakfast I 
was miserably conscious of how dark and 
withered they were. Oh, how cruelly hands 
show age ! And he used to call them beau- 
tiful! And they were beautiful, soft and 


white, with tapering fingers and a delicate 
tracery of veins. But now the veins seem 
more like wires, the knuckles larger, and 
the skin has become yellow and leathery. I 
ing them in different positions that I may 
know how they look best and worst. When 
they are closed the skin is more tightly 
drawn and they do not look so wrinkled, 
but when I lay them flat on the table, the 
skin on the back gathers in little folds and 
they look old — old. But worst of all is 
when I hold up my arm and let the hand 
droop at the wrist — there is something al- 
most claw-like about it then. Oh, why do 
not women die before they grow old? 

August 17th 
I have been reading a much-advertised 
book in the form of a woman's diary. 
The publishers have enthusiastically pro- 
claimed it a "marvelous revelation of a 
woman's heart !" Would any woman ever 
reveal her heart in carefully wrought epi- 


grams, or in an extravagant series of trip- 
licated adjectives? What strained at- 
tempts at cleverness and painful striving 
for effect! In her desperate efforts to 
be brilliant and sensational, the author 
seems to have quite forgotten that it might 
also be effective merely to be — true. 

When just now I came to this sentence, 
I threw down the book in violent protest: 

It is all blued over with oblivion now, but 
sometimes I apprehend myself looking fearfully 
over the delicate whiteness of my arms, and 
fancying I discern here and there the faint, 
faded saffron of a bruise, my mind shudderingly 
recoils lest I be once more steeped in memory 
with its vast terrifying silence shot with sharp, 
convulsive flames of blinding pain, memories 
which engulf me in a maelstrom of emotions, 
crushing, castrating, deadening, leaving me but 
a pallid, swooning shadow of myself. 

Would any suffering woman on God's 
earth ever write like that? Why this book 
should have aroused in me such fierce re- 


sentment I hardly know, unless it is be- 
cause my whole nature rebels at the 
thought of a woman's emotions being ban- 
died forth with such mawkish sentimental- 
ism and glaring artificiality. 

Sunday, August 18th 
Again it has happened — the telephone 
ring and no call. And now I know it was 
not a mistake — that it was she. Both times 
it has been on Sunday, the only day she 
cannot reach him at his office. He had 
been in all morning, and had just gone out 
when the bell rang. And when I answered 
there was no response. But this time Cen- 
tral shrilled: "There's your party — go 
on !" Again I said "Hello I" but there was 
still no answer, nothing but that strange 
silence, that seemed throbbing with some 
mysterious presence. And then faint and 
far away came a sound like a sob — a stifled 
sob. I listened tensely and for many mo- 
ments, but there was no other sound. 
Then I rang Central and asked where 


the call was from, but she could not tell 
me. All day I have been haunted by the 
sound of that faint, distant sob. What did 
it mean? Can she be unhappy? The 
thought that she may suffer, too, had never 
come to me. And yet if she loves him • . . 

August 20th 
For several days he has seemed strange- 
ly harassed and worried. He does not go 
out, but spends the evenings alone in his 
study. He avoids me and will see no call- 
ers. Says he is not well, but I know it is 
not that. It is something about her. That 
another woman should have the power to 
make my husband suffer ! The same ques- 
tion beats always in my mind: Why did 
God ever let this thing happen? Why 
did she ever come into his life? 

I cannot bear to see him unhappy. If 
I could only share with him or help him 
in his trouble — yes, I would do even that! 
I would lighten or bear, if I could, the 
suffering this woman has brought him. 
[89 J 


But he shuts me out completely. Says he 
hopes I will not feel hurt, but that just 
now he would rather be alone. Last night 
he could eat no dinner; until almost dawn 
the light burned in his room, and this 
morning he only drank a cup of coffee and 
hurried off to the office. 

August 24th 
He was out until midnight last night, 
the first time for over a week. And this 
morning he came down to breakfast radi- 
ant. So whatever the trouble that was be- 
tween them, it is over. And that has 
made him happy! Oh, my husband, my 
dear husband! 

Perhaps it was from a feeling of pity 
for me, or perhaps his happiness filled him 
with a desire to give me some pleasure, too, 
for all through breakfast he talked to me, 
tried to take an interest in the house, and 
asked if there was anything he could send 
me. After he had gone, I went up to his 
room, took from the closet the coat he had 


worn the night before. Yes, the odor of 
that soft, elusive perfume was there. And 
on the shoulder was a long brown hair — 
silky fine and with a glint of gold. 


August 25th 
Have I been too complacent? Have I 
suffered in silence when I should have as- 
serted my rights? But what can I do? 
He is a man that reproaches, and accusa- 
tions would only embitter. I could never 
force back his love to me in that way. Once 
I put this thing into words, it would com- 
pletely estrange us. I would have to go 
away; I could not stay and let him know 
that I know. Oh, if I only had the 
strength, the courage to go away! Strange 
as it may seem, every fresh proof of his 
infidelity instead of giving me the strength 
to go, only weakens me, makes me cling 
to him more and more. I sometimes feel 
that my very love for him has degraded 
me, that it has made me oblivious to every 
sense of womanly pride. 


August 27th 
This morning at breakfast I broke down 
completely. He was sitting across from 
me, his paper in one hand and his coffee- 
cup in the other. Unobserved, I was 
watching him, as I often do now, thrilled 
with a consciousness of every detail of his 
personality. The pose of his head and 
shoulders, the air of distinction with which 
he wore his clothes, the whiteness of his 
linen. The freshness of a morning bath 
was still about him, and now and then as 
I leaned forward I caught the faint fra- 
grance of the toilet soap he always uses. 
It sent the blood rushing to my face as 
it brought back memories of the first years 
of our marriage, when I used to bury my 
face against his neck to breathe this odor 
partly of himself and partly of his bath. 
I tried to keep my eyes on my plate, but 
again as by a magnet they were drawn to 
his strong, well-shaped hand, the edge of 
his linen cuff, the cloth of his coat ... I 


burst into tears, caught up my napkin, and 
hurried sobbing from the room. 

Upstairs I locked my door and threw 
myself on the bed. Then I heard his 
knock. I buried my face in the pillows to 
muffle the sobs. A moment later I felt 
his hand on my shoulder. He had gone 
around the other way and come in through 
the bathroom. 

"Why, Mary, what is it? What is the 
matter— (dear ?" Oh, how that "dear" hurt 
me — hesitating, reluctant, a concession, as 
it were, to bribe me from my tears. 

He sat down beside the bed, and gently 
drew me to him. For a second I clung to 
him in pitiful abandonment, and yet I 
knew that he only held me — held me as one 
would hold another that they might not 
fall. There may have been pity, but I 
could feel there was no love in his touch. I 
shrank away and hid my face in the pil- 
lows again. 

"Mary, are you ill? Tell me what it 




"Oh, you are killing me — killing me!" 
I sobbed. 

A hideous silence. And then : 

"What do you mean?" His voice was 
like steel. 

And I knew then, had I never known 
before, how useless any appeal would be — 
how futile to beat against this wall he had 
placed between us. 

"Oh, I am only nervous and hysterical. 
I haven't been well lately, that's all," I ex- 
plained hurriedly. 

"You are alone too much." His voice 
was more kindly now. "If you would go 
out more — that is why I wanted to take 
an apartment. I felt you would be hap- 
pier and less lonely. I am going to have 
Dr. Martin call this afternoon." 

I made no protests. I did not say that 
in all these years I had never been lonely 
before, that it was only now — now since he 
was always away from me. It would only 
have made him hard and bitter; it would 
not have helped. 



August 29th 

Is there anything in life so sad as old 
love-letters — letters written by one who 
has since grown cold? To-day I went 
through a box of letters he wrote me before 
our marriage — wonderful, glowing love- 
letters. All these years I have kept them, 
and now I turn back to them with some 
vague hope that they will comfort me. 

But they only hurt me more. They have 
only made me feel more terribly all that 
I have lost. 

Oh, how dead they seem! All the love 
and hopes and desires that they were filled 
with are dead now. As I read them I try 
to forget, to live back in that time when 
they were written, to thrill again with the 
thought of the future that lay before me 
then; the future that was throbbing with 
his love, with the promise of all the tender- 
ness and nearness that would be ours. Life 
holds nothing more beautiful than a young 
girl's dreams of the man she is to marry. 

And my dreams came true. The first 


few years of our marriage I was happy be- 
yond all words. Even when he was away 
from me I seemed to live every moment 
in the shelter of his arms; the sense of his 
love and protection and the bond between 
us was always with me. 

And then that wonderful year before 
our child came. Oh, the tenderness — the 
tenderness of his love for me in that year! 
And then our great sorrow when it lived 
only a few short hours. I tried to keep 
much of my grief from him; in some vague 
way I felt that I had not fulfilled my mis- 
sion. I cannot quite put it into words, and 
yet there was always a feeling that in the 
supreme test of wifehood I had failed. I 
have often wondered if other childless 
women have this same thought. 

I am sure such a phase of it never oc- 
curred to him. He was very kind and 
gentle and did all that he could to com- 
fort me. 

I remember one day he came home 
earlier than usual and found me up in mjr 


room crying over some little clothes that 
had never been worn. He took me in his 
arms and begged me not to grieve so, that 
I must not be so hopeless, that some day 
the little clothes might still be needed. 
But they never were. Oh, if only they had 
been! If there had only come another 
child to complete our lives and our home, I 
feel that no one could have ever come be- 
tween us then. 

But even if they had — I would still have 
had something. I would have had the 
child — our child. And now I have noth- 
ing — nothing! All the beautiful dreams 
of my girlhood and wifehood are dead, 
and now I stand alone, old, childless, love- 
less and alone 1 

August 80th 

I have been reading more of the letters. 
Yesterday I put them away and prom- 
ised myself I would not open them again. 
And yet to-day an irresistible longing 
drew me to them, a sad fancy to find one 
written on this date, August 30th. I was 


not sure that there was one, for though 
our engagement lasted over a year, there 
were many days when we were together, 
when he did not write. 

But I opened the box and looked for 
this date with a strange eagerness, an 
eagerness that was almost an anxiety — 
as though in some way I felt it might be 
some good omen — that something might 
follow if there was such a letter. The sec- 
ond envelope I picked up was postmarked 
August 20th. How strange! My heart 
beat fast. But I found no more in August 
until I had gone over half of them; then 
came one marked August 5th. I hurried 
on . . . August 12th . . . August 8th. Then 
all together were a number in August — 
almost every day but the 30th. Only a 
small handful were left. I was growing 
sick with disappointment. When there re- 
mained but two or three more letters out of 
all that box, the postmark August 30th 
lay before me. 



With trembling fingers I took it up. 
The envelope was empty! An empty en- 
velopel and I had longed for some lov- 
ing word — something that would comfort 
me — that I might take as a message now! 
There were a dozen or more loose letters 
in the bottom of the box, but none of them 
dated, except sometimes the day of week 
or perhaps the hour. And the paper was 
all the same — the plain, heavy white paper 
he always used ; there was nothing to iden- 
tify any of them with that empty envelope. 

September 2d 
I was at ~»— ■ *s glove counter to-day, 
when suddenly I was conscious of a subtle 
perfume strangely like . . . My heart 
seemed beating in my throat as I turned. 
Beside me was a strikingly beautiful 
woman having some long white gloves 
fitted. At that moment a silver purse 
slipped from her lap to the floor. As she 
stooped for the purse, the movement 
brought the odor more strongly to me, 


leaving no doubt of its source. Could it 
be • • 

I was waiting for some change, but now 
I turned abruptly from the counter and 
walked blindly through the store. My 
first impulse was to get away — to hurry 
from the place as quickly as I could. But 
when I reached the street I was seized with 
an uncontrollable desire to go back — to 
see her again — just to see her! Would 
she still be there? I was trembling so 1 
had hardly strength to push open the 
great swinging doors that led into the 
store. Down one aisle, then another — 
yes, she was there! Again that perfume; 
it came to me as I neared the counter. The 
clerk was folding the gloves in tissue- 
paper. "Yes, charge and send them — 
Mrs. A. L. Morris, Lafayette Avenue/ 
Brooklyn." I could have cried aloud with 
joy. It was not she — that woman was 
not the one! 

When I came home I wondered at the 
great relief that had swept through me. 


Why should the fact that it was not that 
woman bring me such comfort? The 
woman he loves is somewhere this morning 
— why should it matter so much to me that 
she was not at that counter? And yet it 
does. Had that woman given the address 
on Central Park West, I should have been 
desperate. And the fact that she did not 
has filled me with joy. 

September 3d 

Horace said at breakfast that he was 
going to Boston to-morrow on the early 
morning train, and asked if I would care 
to go; that I could spend the day with 
my Cousin Edith and come back with him 
at midnight. Or I could stay over a day 
or so if I wished. 

I consented gladly. I used constantly 
to go with him on such trips, but now he 
so rarely asks me. If I could only feel 
that he really wanted me to go, as he used 
to, just to have me with him — but I know 
it is only because he has noticed my grow- 
ing depression and thinks the diversion 


might do me good. Still, I am glad to 
go; for five hours I will sit heside him 
on the train, and that will be more than I 
have had for days. 

I have heard nothing from Edith since 
that letter saying she was preparing to 
leave her husband and that the divorce 
proceedings would soon be published. But 
there has been nothing in the papers; they 
must have succeeded in keeping it quiet. 
Whatever happens, she has the consolation 
of two beautiful children; they will keep 
her life from being wholly desolate. 

September 6th 
I have spent two days with Edith Car- 
rington; I did not come back until this 
morning. And those two days were only 
another revelation of the tragedy of mar- 
riage and the incessant misery of life. 

I had written the night before that I 
was coming, but for some reason the let- 
ter was delayed, and I reached there be- 
fore it did. It was about one o'clock. As 


the maid opened the door, Edith was 
coming downstairs, charmingly gowned, 
ready for the street. At first I thought I 
had never seen her look so well, and then 
I noticed a certain nervous excitement, 
and a hard brilliancy about her eyes. 

She greeted me cordially, but I felt 
something not quite natural in her man- 
ner. I found that she had a luncheon en- 
gagement, but she insisted on breaking it 
and spending the afternoon with me. In 
spite of my protests, she went to the tele- 
phone in the hall. She closed the door 
and spoke in a low tone, yet I could not 
help hearing part of what she said, though 
I walked to the window farthest away 
from the hall. And what I heard seemed 
very strange. 

When she came back into the room, her 
face was slightly flushed. 

"It is all right — I have postponed the 

luncheon till Friday. You need not feel 

conscience-stricken, for I would much 

rather have it then; by that time I will 



have the gown the tailor disappointed me 
about to-day. 

"Now, come upstairs, and well take off 
our things. I'll have Jane serve us some- 
thing up there, so we can have a nice long 
talk. Fm sure we've lots to talk about," 
with a little laugh that seemed hard and 

During the luncheon we talked of only 
the most impersonal things, neither of us 
touching on her divorce or the letter she 
had written me. I was strangely puzzled. 
I had never known that she drank wine, 
particularly at luncheon, but now she 
drank a good deal. 

When the maid had cleared away the 
things she drew out a small silver case 
filled with cigarettes and lit one carelessly. 
Seeing the amazement I could not keep 
from my eyes, she laughed again that hard 
little laugh. 

"Oh, yes, I smoke now — every one 

The afternoon passed in desultory gos- 
[ 105 ] 


sip, with still no reference to her husband 
or to anything at all personal. When I 
asked about the children, she answered 
briefly that they were in boarding-school 
and came home every other week to spend 
Sunday! And this was the woman whom 
for years I had known to be the most 
adoring mother, who could hardly let her 
children be out of her sight! 

About four the maid came in with a 
long, white flower box. "This just came, 

"Very well; you can leave it there on 
the table," Edith said carelessly, but I 
saw the color rushing to her face. 

With what seemed almost like studied 
indifference, she talked on to me several 
moments before she went over to open the 
box. From their tissue-paper wrappings 
she lifted out a magnificent bunch of 
American Beauty roses. 

"Oh, what exquisite roses!" I said in- 

"Yes, they are lovely, aren't they? 
[ 106 ] 


After all, there is no flower quite like the 
rose." From the broad satin ribbon that 
held them she unpinned a small envelope 
and slipped it unopened into her dress. 

And that was all. She arranged them 
in some large vases, but made no further 
comment about them. 

Horace was to call up at six, to know if 
I had decided to return with him. I had 
rather thought I would stay, that a few 
days from home might be well for me, but 
now I was anxious to go back. Whatever 
had happened in Edith's life, I felt it was 
something I would rather not know, and 
that to remain would only be painful to 
us both. 

When the telephone rang a few mo- 
ments after six, she answered it first. I 
heard her invite Horace to dinner. And 
then: "I am sorry you can't come up, but 
I am going to keep Mary — she is going 
to stay over a day or two." 

And when I hurried to the 'phone, pro- 
testing, she covered the mouthpiece, and 
[107] , 


turned to me with a strange earnestness. 

"No; you must stay, Mary — you must 
stay because I want you — I need you! I 
thought I didn't — that I was almost sorry 
you had come, and that I would let you 
go back without — without telling you. 
But I know now I cannot!" 

She thrust the receiver into my hand. 
"Tell him that you have decided to stay — 
at least until to-morrow/' 

Reluctantly I yielded. I seemed power- 
less to do anything else. 

When I hung back the receiver, she 
said nervously: "We are not going to 
talk about it now — not just yet — I don't 
think I can. Frank will be home for din- 
ner to-night; he dines here about twice a 
week, and I always manage to have some 
guests. Mr. and Mrs. Elton are coming 
to-night, and George Forrester and Grace 
Hartford — you remember her?" 

She talked on about the dinner and the 
guests, making no further reference to her 
husband. I asked no questions. I had 
1 108 ] 


something of the feeling one has in watch- 
ing the developments of a play. 

Later when Edith dressed for dinner, I 
realized suddenly that she was still a 
young and beautiful woman. She wore a 
pale lavender gown that was cut lower, 
and fitted more closely, and was more 
subtly striking, than anything I had ever 
seen her wear. I did not see Frank Car- 
rington until he took me in to dinner. He 
was a man that looked particularly well 
in evening dress, and as I looked at Edith 
and then at him I wondered why love had 
ceased between these two. Physically, at 
least, they were both attractive. And yet 
several times during the dinnerj saw him 
glance at her across the table, and there 
was in his eyes a look so hard and cold that 
I shivered. Would Horace ever look at 
me like that? 

After dinner they played bridge until 
midnight. I play very badly, for I have 
never cared for it, but Frank Carrington 
[109 J 


was my partner, and as he is an expert we 
won by a few points. 

I have never seen Edith more brilliant 
and more fascinating; she was full of keen 
repartee, and her clear laugh rang out 
again and again. And yet I felt in it 
that note of disillusionment, of mirthless- 
ness, that I had noticed when I first came. 

At last they were all gone, and she took 
me up to my room. 

"I'm not coming in — I know you are 
tired. Good-night." 

So, still she did not want to talk. 

Wonderingly I lay there, unable to 
sleep. I had come here expecting to find 
Edith living alone with her children, in 
strict seclusion, a crushed, broken-hearted 
woman. That was what her letter im- 
plied; and now . . . 

And the children — why had she sent 
them away? Then I thought of the con- 
versation over the telephone — and the 

From somewhere a clock struck two, 


and still I lay awake. Suddenly there 
was a soft rustle in the hall and then a 
faint knock. I opened the door to find 
Edith standing there in a long, flowing 

"I knocked softly, so, if you were asleep, 
I wouldn't wake you," she explained 

"No, I haven't been asleep. Come in 
and let me put something around you — ' 
you'll take cold that way." 

"Oh, I'll not take cold— though it 
wouldn't matter if I did," bitterly. She 
threw herself on the couch and looked at 
me with hard, brilliant eyes. 

"Mary, I want to talk. It will be easier 
now than in the morning. Do you know 
that for the last two months I have want- 
ed to come to New York just to see you 
*^-to talk to you? There were times when 
I felt I should go mad if I didn't talk to 
some one, and you are the only woman I 

"Then why didn't you come, dear?" I 



asked gently, "You know if there is any- 
thing I could do " 

"Oh, there is nothing you can do ex- 
cept listen. You needn't even trouble to 
give me advice, for I shouldn't take it — 
one never does. But you can listen — you 
can let me talk. Can you understand how 
that will help me?" 

"Yes, dear, I think I can." And I 
thought of how Helen Chandler had said 
the same thing. 

She was walking up and down the room 
now, just as Helen had done when she 
cried out that she wanted to go to her hus- 
band, that he was alone in that awful, 
silent graveyard — and he could never bear 
to be alone — that she wanted to go to him, 
with her hands to dig down and down 
till she came to his coffin, and then to 
lie there with him. 

There was something in this atmosphere 

that brought that scene back. I felt the 

same f aintness coming over me. Was 

there not enough anguish in my own life? 



Why should fate make me share that of 
other women? 

"I want to begin at the beginning so 
you will understand." She was still walk- 
ing back and forth. "You have always 
thought my marriage a happy one, haven't 
you? You have always thought Frank a 
kind and indulgent husband? That was 
what I tried to make you think — what I 
tried to make every one think — and I be- 
lieve I succeeded. But it was all a lie 1 
For the nine years of our marriage I have 
been living a lie. From the very first he 
was cruel and unfaithful, shamelessly un- 
faithful. I believe now that he never loved 
me. And any love I had for him he has 
long since killed. 

"But I resolved that no one should 
know — that before the world we should 
stand as a happy couple. And for all these 
years I have acted that role, partly for 
the children's sake and partly for my own. 
But six months ago something happened 
—something that crushed out of me all the 


good that was left. And from that time 
I haven't caredl 

"I think my pride, my reserve, my quiet 
ignoring of all that he did, has always ex- 
asperated him — my 'damned superiority' 
and my "damned virtuousness,' he calls it. 
Again and again he has tried to humiliate 
me, but I have been impervious to all his 
insults until this happened: 

"About ten o'clock one night he drove 
up here in an automobile with a flashy 
light-opera singer — his mistress! A man- 
about-town and another actress were with 
them. And he forced me to receive them, 
and to have Jane serve a supper! He 
must have told the woman I was not at 
home, or she would not have come. For 
underneath her attempted bravado she 
was nervous and ill at ease, and I think, 
too, that she pitied me, which was the most 
intolerable part of all. But I carried it 
off well — she showed far more confusion 
than I. No one would have thought I 
was entertaining my husband's mistress, 


and that I knew every one at the table 
was perfectly aware that I knew who she 

"But that was not all. I think he was 
furious because I was not confused, be- 
cause I treated them with cool courtesy 
instead of making some vulgar display of 
temper. It seems inconceivable, and yet 
I really believe that was what he wanted. 
Of course, they had all been drinking, 
but not enough but that he knew clearly 
what he was doing. And so he began to 
tell stories — vile stories — and to watch 
their effect upon me. 

"There was a shining knife beside my 
plate; I felt my fingers closing over it. 
I knew then if I stayed I would try to 
kill him. I made some excuse to get some- 
thing from the dining-room — he had or- 
dered the supper served in the library. I 
slipped out, ran up to my room, threw 
something around me and came down the 
back stairs through the basement and out 
into the street." 



She threw herself on the couch now, and 
her eyes grew more hard and more defiant. 
It was several moments before she went 

"What I did after that was not planned. 
I was in no condition to plan. Blinded, 
maddened, crazed, I followed the first im- 
pulse that came to me. I went straight 
to the rooms of a man who I knew had 
long cared for me. No word of love had 
ever been spoken between us, yet I knew 
that he cared. By chance I knew his ad- 
dress — bachelor quarters in an old-fash- 
ioned residence on Beacon Hill. 

"I found the whole house dark except 
a faint, green light shining through the 
shutters of the second floor. By the dim 
street-lamp I read the names on the brass 
plates in the entry. The second floor was 
his. I rang the bell. There was no an- 
swer; desperately I rang again and again. 
Then came the tapping sound of the door 
being unlatched from above. But I would 
not open it — I wanted him to come down. 


So I rang again. Then I heard steps on 
the stairs — and the door opened. He 
stood there in a smoking- jacket, a cigar 
in his hand. 

" 'Mrs. CarringtonP 

"For a moment I could not speak. He 
said again: 'Mrs. Carringtonr 

"Then I laughed hysterically. 'Yes. Is 
it too late to call? I thought you might 
be pleased — I ' 

"He came out into the vestibule, where 
he could see me more plainly. 

"'What is it — what has happened?' 

"I don't remember just what I said, but 
it was something hysterical about think- 
ing it would be interesting to make a mid- 
night call. 'You don't seem very hos- 
pitable,' I persisted. 'Aren't you going to 
— to ask me in?* 


" 'Why?' 

" 'It isn't necessary to say why. If you 
will wait here I will get my coat and take 
I "71 


you home. Or if there is any reason why 
you woirt go home, I will take you to your 
sister-in-law's, or anywhere that you will 
be safe/ 

"He took my silence for consent and 
hurried upstairs. I waited until I knew 
he was in his rooms, and then I followed 
him! In his haste he had left the door of 
the front room open. I went in without 
knocking. It was a large, high-ceilinged 
room. There were a number of deer-heads 
on the wall and some large fur-rugs on the 
floor. The only light was a green-shaded 
lamp on the table. I don't know why I 
noticed these things then, but I did. 

"I crossed over to a large leather chair 
by the table. I could hear him moving 
about in the adjoining room. In a mo : 
ment he came through with his hat and 
coat. He did not see me and would have 
hurried down had I not spoken. 

"I don't know what either of us said 
after that, but I know that all his reason- 
ings were of no avail. I stayed! Do you 


know, Mary, that when a good woman — a 
woman who has been good all her life — at 
last becomes desperate, she can be far 
more desperate than a woman who at heart 
is half bad? Well, it is true. I proved it 
that night. 

"Remorse — shame — repentance? As yet 
I have felt none of those things. Of 
course, I am not happy, but in some ways 
I am happier than I have ever been. 

"And I know if God is just— if He 
knows all that I have endured all these 
years of my marriage — He will not regis- 
ter even one little mark against me for this 
thing. Mary, I believe that fully. 

"As for any duty or loyalty to Frank — 
if I ever owed him any — don't you think 
I have paid it over and over again? In 
the nine years we have been married he 
has had a dozen mistresses, and has sub- 
jected me to inconceivable insults. And 
yet through all those awful years I was 
a true and faithful wife, and would be 
still, had he not finally goaded me deliber- 


ately to desperation. Do you think I still 
owe him anything — do you? 

"As for the children" — the bitterness 
died out of her voice — "I know I have 
wronged them — nothing can ever make 
that right. But for that I must answer 
to myself and to them, and," defiantly, "to 
no one else. 

"That is all there is to tell. I have told 
you because I had to tell some one, and 
I could trust no one else. It may make a 
difference in our friendship; if it does, I 
am sorry; but even had I known it would 
— I think I would still have told you." 

I went over and sat by the couch where 
she lay and took both her hands. "It will 
make no difference, Edith — you ought to 
know that. The only thing to be consid- 
ered is your best happiness. Things can't 
go on indefinitely this way." 

"Why?" defiantly. 

"I can't tell you why, dear, except that 
I know they cannot. Don't you feel that, 



She turned her face away. "Of course 
I feel it," hopelessly, "but what can I do 

"Does he love you very much, Edith? 
Is it a great love that he gives you?" 

"I think it is," in a low voice. 

"Then why don't you get your free- 
dom, dear," I asked gently, "and marry 

She hesitated, and a faint color crept 
into her face. "Because of the children, 
and because Frank wouldn't let me have 
it now. He would bring this — counter- 

"Surely he wouldn't want to hold you 
if— if " 

"Oh, yes, he would. You don't know the 
man. He wants to hold me to further 
humiliate and torture me." 

"You don't mean he knows this and 
still wants to hold you " 

"That is just what I do mean. Of 
course, he doesn't know allj but he knows 
enough to use it as an additional way of 


torturing me. He takes a fiendish delight 
in saying insinuating things that cut 
through me like a jagged knife. At last 
he can make me shrink and cringe — he 
never could before. 

"Of course, if I were openly indiscreet, 
if I became talked about — a subject of 
discussion at the clubs — he would not 
tolerate that. He would get the divorce 
himself, bringing upon me all the disgrace 
he could, taking the children from me, and 
seeing that the decree forbid me to marry 
again. But as long as I am discreet, and 
he has this lash to hold over me, he is well 

I shuddered. "And I have always 
thought him a kindly man!" 

"To other people he is. That is the 
strange part of it all. It is only to me 
that he is a fiend. If he had married some 
other woman he might have made her a 
good husband. But from the very first I 
seemed to have aroused in him the desire 
to crush — to subject me, and that has 


grown upon him until it has become an 
obsession. Whatever I did was done un- 
consciously. In looking back now I think 
it was partly because I shrank from him 
in a physical way. I think it was that 
which first aroused all the demon, all the 
brutality that was in him." 

She started up with a cry: "Oh, God! 
what I've been through! You don't know 
— you can't know! How could you," 
fiercely — "you in your quiet, happy mar- 
riage? Do you ever stop to realize how 
happy you are — how good fate has been 
to you? Of all the people I know, I know 
of just two really happy marriages, and 
yours is one of them. You never think of 
it that way, do you ? You take it as a mat- 
ter of course. Oh, no, it is not happiness, 
but anguish that makes one fully con- 


My hands clenched tight the arm of the 

chair. Could I bear anything more? If 

she would only leave me now — before I 

broke down. She had again thrown her- 



self on the couch, her arm over her face, 
motionless except for the lace at her throat, 
which stirred with her convulsive breath- 

When at length she arose, she moved 
wearily toward the door. All the excite- 
ment had died out of her voice now. 

"I may never be able to speak of this 
again, Mary, but I want you to know that 
I am glad I have told you — that it has 
helped me some — as much as anything 
could now." 

The next day I left about noon. She 
made no effort to keep me. In no way was 
any reference made to the night before. 
It was as though it had not been. 

[ 124 J 


September 8th 
Everything seems so strange since I 
came back. All my views of life seem 
altered. I cannot explain what I feel. 

My thoughts are full of Edith Carring- 
ton. What will become of her? How 
will it end? What will be her future? 
Can I do nothing to help her? I am 
haunted by the thought that I said noth- 
ing that night — that I made no effort to 
influence her. And yet what could I have 
said? How cheap and futile any moraliz- 
ing would have seemed! Before the great 
tragedies of life how powerless one feels! 
I can only wait, and hope that if she needs 
me she will let me know. 

September 9th 
I am filled with love and tenderness for 
Horace. In spite of all that I have suf- 


fered I know that he is a kind man — a 
good man. I think of Frank Carrington's 
fiendish brutality, and then I think of my 
own husband's kindliness, and thoughtful- 
ness, and unfailing courtesy, and I am 
more content than I have been for months. 
From now on I am going to forget that 
there is another woman in his life, and 
to remember only that he is kind to me, 
and that he always will be. 

September 11th 
How my feelings and convictions 
change from day to day ! A few days ago, 
influenced by the memory of Frank Car- 
rington's cruelty, I thought I would be 
content with Horace's kindness. And now 
I am not content. I don't even under- 
stand how I could ever have thought I 
would be. Something happened to-day 
that brought back all my jealousy and 
bitterness. I want my husband's love. 
How could I ever think I would be satis- 
fied with less? 



September 12th 
Ellen has broken a large cut-glass bowl. 
She just now brought it to me in tears. 
A year ago I would have been greatly- 
distressed, but to-day I was not conscious 
of being even sorry. I simply didn't care. 
I only said mechanically: "You must be 
more careful, Ellen." The girl looked 
astonished, but infinitely relieved, and hur- 
ried away. 

I didn't care. Somehow I feel that if 
everything we own were destroyed, still I 
would not care. Since this trouble has 
come into my life, of how little conse- 
quence any other misfortune seems! I 
look back with wonder on the things that 
used to worry me — the details of the house 
and servants. How trivial they seem now ! 

Sunday Afternoon, September 13th 
Oh, I am so lonely, so desolate, so heart- 
sick! I have come to look upon Sunday 
afternoon with inexpressible dread. He 
is always away and I am always alone. 


I know that I am alone during the week, 
but the loneliness of Sunday has a horror 
of its own. The very silence and desertion 
of the street, and even the atmosphere of 
the buildings seem to add to it. I cannot 
sew or read or plan about the house as I 
try to during the week. More than ever 
I am possessed with a feverish unrest. 
Sometimes I force myself to go out for a 
walk, but the quiet streets and closed shops 
only add to my depression. The few peo- 
ple one meets are always in couples; some- 
times they have children with them, happy 
in the prospect of a holiday. I think that 
is what I feel most — that Sunday is the 
day that brings families and lovers togeth- 
er. Only I am alone. 

And the long twilight is so horrible, 
without even the distraction of dinner to 
look forward to. We dine at one on Sun- 
days, so Ellen can have her afternoon off. 
Horace never comes home now for tea, and 
I do without it rather than have it alone. 

I spend the hours wandering about the 
[ 128 ] 


house, hoping vaguely that the bell or 
telephone will ring. I hardly know what 
I am longing for. It is not that I have 
even the faintest hope that he might tele- 
phone or send me some message (as he 
used to do) that he was coming to take me 
driving, and for me to be ready. It has 
been over a year since he has done that, 
and I know in my heart he never will 
again. The few places he takes me now 
are laboriously arranged for in advance; 
there is never any unexpected trips or out- 

September 14th 

I have been looking at one of my old 
photographs, taken the year before I was 
married. It is a girlish picture in a simple 
low-necked gown with some flowers at my 
waist. It is the same picture that Horace 
carried with him all during our engage- 
ment. He had it cut down so it would fit 
in his breast-pocket, and even long after 
we were married he always kept it there. 

On the back is written in pencil the date 


I gave it to him — June 6, 1889. It is so 
faint now that it can hardly be read, and 
there are five words after the date that I 
cannot make out at all. What do they 
say? What had he written there? The 
last word looks like "life," but it is so 
vague I cannot be sure. I tried a magni- 
fying glass, but even that could not make 
it clear. What are those words? I know 
it can make no difference now. Whatever 
the loving phrase he wrote then, it can have 
no meaning now. And yet I so long to 
know what it is. 

I think my strongest feeling, as I looked 
at the rounded, youthful face that was 
once mine, was one of bitterest jealousy, 
almost of hatred. Could I have retained 
that beauty, I could have retained 
Horace's love. And yet in every other 
way I know I have gained. I know that 
at heart I am less selfish and thoughtless 
than I was then, and that the love I give 
Horace now is a far greater, deeper, 
purer love than what I gave him then. 
[ 130 1 


But how little all that counts beside a pink 
and white skin and golden hair! 

Had Horace ceased to care for me then, 
in a few years I could probably have 
learned to love some one else, but now 

One is so rarely honest, even with one's 
self, that I take a certain grim pleasure 
in being honest here — in admitting that 
while many would have sought me then, 
none would seek me now. But if some 
one should? If Horace should leave me, 
and, in spite of my gray hair and tired 
face, some other man offered me love and 
marriage — would it help me? Yes, I be- 
lieve it would help me. And I might 
marry him. I believe in my heart that any 
woman under those circumstances would, 
though not one in a million would admit 
it. But if I am honest in saying this, 
I am equally honest in saying that what- 
ever happened I could never love any one 
but Horace. Twenty years ago I could, 
but now I never could. That is what 

C 181 ]l 


association does for a woman. How dif- 
ferently it affects a man! 

At last I tore the picture into shreds. 
I never wanted to see it again, and above 
all I never wanted Horace to see it. The 
change has come so gradually, he may not 
realize the startling difference which that 
picture would recall. 

September 15th 

This evening, just as we finished dinner, 
Persia came into the dining-room, carry- 
ing one of her little kittens, and laid it at 
Horace's feet. In spite of all my care 
and petting, I think she has always been 
more fond of Horace than of me. And 
now she stood there looking up at him 
wistfully, proud of her kitten and want- 
ing him to see it. 

"Why, what have we here?" Horace 
laughed as he stooped over and picked it 
up. The little thing lay mewing in his 
hand, while Persia rubbed happily back 
and forth against his chair. 
[ 132 1 


I came over beside him and stroked the 
kitten. "Isn't it a dear little thing? It's 
so soft and warm and — cuddlesome." 

Horace laughed. "Yes, I should say it 
was all that. And it seems a pretty sleek, 
well-fed little beggar. Are the rest of 
your family like this, Persia, or have 
you brought out the best as a sample?" 

"Oh, Persia takes excellent care of them 
all. When she isn't feeding them she's 
polishing them, and often I find her doing 

As I leaned over to pet the kitten, which 
was now clinging fast to Horace's sleeve, 
I was nearer him than I had been for 
days. Just the touch of his coat, of his 
hand, as for an instant ours met against 
the kitten's soft fur, made my pulses throb. 
I felt the warm color rush to my face and 
forced myself to draw back, lest I yield 
to the wild longing to slip down into his 

I walked over to the window as though 
to adjust the shades. When I turned 


again Horace was putting the kitten care- 
fully on the floor. Persia hovered over it 
for a moment, licking its little face so 
ardently that it tumbled over, then she 
picked it up and carried it away. 

It was only a trivial incident, but it 
seemed to have brought us a little nearer 
each other. Later I went down to the 
basement, where Persia has her family. 
"Persia," I whispered, as I stooped over 
the box, stroking her and her kittens im- 
partially, "bring another one of your 
babies up to Horace some time." 

September 17th 
To-day I held in my hand one of her 
letters. And I had not the courage to 
open it. It was not honor. I shall not de- 
ceive myself by that pretext — I do not 
think I even thought of that. It was fear, 
abject fear! The certainty — the proof — 
of his infidelity that I felt that letter held, 
would be more horrible than the uncer- 
tainty, the possibility of some other ex- 
\ 134 ] 


planation, that at times I still cling to. 
ffhe letter came about three o'clock. It 
was a special delivery. The maid by mis- 
take brought it to me. 

"Why, this is for Mr. Kennedy," I said, 
and was handing it back to her, when a 
faint perfume reached me, soft and subtle, 
the perfume I knew so well. 

"Never mind, Ellen, I will take it to 
Mr. Kennedy myself." 

When the maid had gone, I took the let- 
ter to my room and locked the door. My 
hands trembled so I could hardly hold it. 
The envelope was an ordinary one, and 
the address was typewritten. But when 
I held it to the light, I saw the paper in- 
side was tinted note-paper, with an en- 
graved monogram or crest. 

I don't know how long I held it before 
I took it up to my husband. He was in 
the library. There must have been some- 
thing strange in my face, for he arose at 
once and came toward me. "Why, Mary, 
what is the matter?" Then he saw the 


letter in my hand. Without answering I 
laid it on the table and left the room. A 
few moments later I heard the front door 
open and close. Without a word of ex- 
planation to me — he had obeyed her sum- 
mons. He had left me to think what I 

September 18th 

She had purposely used a plain type- 
written envelope — on my account. Had 
he warned her to do that? Since that let- 
ter came yesterday, I have been able to 
think of but one thing — the hideous possi- 
bilities of their attitude toward me. For 
the first time I realized that they must 
have talked about me. They must have 
discussed ways of meeting or writing so I 
would not know. That my husband should 
talk of me to another woman! I have 
been dragged through the very mire of 
shame and ignominy. 

September 19th 

How do they talk about me? What do 
they say? Does he speak of me as "my 


wife" or as "Mrs. Kennedy?" What does 
he tell her? Does he say that we have 
grown apart — that I no longer care? 
Does she question him about me? Does 
he allow that? And does he answer her 
questions? How intensely curious she 
must he about the woman who is his wife! 
For two nights I have lain awake tortur- 
ing myself with the thought of all the in- 
timate, personal things she might ask him. 
She may even know of my suffering and 
exult in her triumph; or does she pity 
me? Oh, what must I do — what can I do? 
If there is a God how can such things be? 

September 80th 
I have been reading some books on the 
various New Thought religions, trying to 
get some comfort from their theory that 
all is mind and divine love. But it all 
seems so personal and abstract. I want 
the warm human love of my husband — the 
strength of his arms around me. The 


thought that some other woman lies there 
is killing me. 

September 22d 

Edith Carrington was here to-day. She 
stayed only a few hours, returning to Bos- 
ton on the evening train. I did not know 
she was coming — she had not written or 
telegraphed — and I was out when she 
came. At first she explained nervously 
that she had come over to do some shop- 
ping, and we talked for some time in a 
strained way. Then she said abruptly: 

"Mary, I didn't come to shop, I came 
to talk to you. I thought it might help 
me — it did before." 

"Nothing has happened?" I felt my 
heart sink with the old sickening sense 
of dread. 

"Nothing definite, but I'm so worried 
and unhappy. Oh, I don't know what to 

I waited. I had no heart to question 

"You know you said things couldn't 


go on this way indefinitely. I suppose in 
my heart I had some wild hope that they 
could, but I know now they cannot. I 
live in continual fear of some exposure — 
some crisis. And the most horrible part 
of all is that I feel whatever happens I 
will have to go through it alone. It is that 
sense of standing so alone that terrifies 


'But surely, Edith- 

"Oh, I know what you are going to say 
— that he should stand with me and pro- 
tect and shield me. And of course he 
would in every material way; but still I 
would be alone. How can I explain it 
so you will understand? If I say that 
I feel he is drawing away from me, that 
will give an impression that is much too 
strong, and will make you wholly mis- 
judge him. He isn't drawing away from 
me in any tangible way. It is all so subtle 
I don't know how to put it into words. 
I only know that the more I cling to him 


— the more I show my need of him — the 
farther away he seems." 

"You mean he — he doesn't love you as 
he did?" 

"In some ways I think he loves me more. 
But I feel that he doesn't want the re- 
sponsibility of my future. And when I 
show that I am clinging to him too much, 
in some subtle way I feel that he is draw- 
ing back. It is nothing tangible that he 
says or does, but still I have that feeling, 
and it hurts — it hurts! 

"And that is where I have paid. Had I 
not gone to him that night, or had I let 
him take me home as he wanted to, I could 
have secured my divorce and he would 
have been eager to many me. But that 
night I was desperate; I had no thought 
of the future. And now — now I feel that N 
everything is different." 

"You don't mean that if you were free 
he would hesitate to marry you now be- 
cause of — of thisf* 

"No, I don't mean quite that. That is 


such a ghastly way of putting it. But 
if he married me now it would be because 
he felt he owed it to me, and not because 
he wanted me to be his wife more than he 
wanted anything else in the world. Of 
course, he would never admit that, but I 
know! He would never admit, either, 
that he does not respect me in quite the 
same way, and yet I feel that he does 
not. He has done nothing to make me 
say this; in every way he is as delicate 
and chivalrous and tender with me as he 
ever was, and yet I know deep in his heart 
it is not the same — and it never can be. 

"Oh, there is something insidious, cor- 
rosive, about a love like this to a woman 
like me. I pay for every moment of our 
happiness with hours of scorching shame. 
And I cannot understand it, for theoretic- 
ally I feel that it is right — that I have 
every right to live my life as I choose. As 
for any sense of disloyalty to Frank, I 
have none," scornfully. "Oh, no, I have 


no feeling about that. And yet there is 
a feeling here" — she pressed her clenched 
hands against her breast — "that I cannot 
crush out," 

"Edith, if you feel that, you must end 
it. Can't you see the price you are pay- 
ing is too great?" 

"Oh, I know — I know; but I have 
grown to love him a thousand times more 
than I did. The very bond which brings 
this sense of degradation has made me 
love him more. All the years of my mar- 
riage have been so hideous, I never knew 
until he taught me what love could mean; 
and now, now — I cannot give him up. It 
would kill me." 

Again I stood baffled, helpless. What 
could I say? What could I do? Sadly 
I watched her leave, knowing it would be 
useless to ask her to stay. And when she 
had gone I was filled with that same sense 
of failure, of lost opportunity, that had 
haunted me when I returned from Boston. 


September «8d 
"The more I cling to him, the more I 
show my need of him, the farther away 
he seems. ... In some subtle way I 
feel that he is drawing back." Those 
words of Edith Carrington's have been 
haunting me all day. I feel that in them 
are held most of the tragedies of women's 

September 24th 

A cynically clever man once told me 
that to every one some sort of "prop" was 
necessary. The strongest, he said, was 
religion; the others were love, work, whis- 
ky. His, he said, was whisky; that it 
was the most reliable. Women, he claimed, 
first tried love; when that failed them they 
turned either to religion or drink. 

Perhaps they do; but does either give 
them healing for a broken heart? 

[ 148 ]i 


£ a. m., September 26th 
I cannot sleep. It is torture to lie 
there thinking-— thinking. Perhaps it will 
help me to write. It is horrible to have 
to "fight" for sleep as I do now night after 
night. One after another I try all the 
means, the tricks I have ever heard of that 
are said to induce sleep. I count thou- 
sands, repeat the alphabet backward, pic- 
ture innumerable sheep jumping over a 
fence, repeat all the poems I have ever 
memorized — until my brain reels from ex- 
haustion, and at last I sink into a sort of 

One method is to think of objects dis- 
connectedly — to name things rapidly, 
things that are entirely foreign to each 

[ 144 » 1 


other, as desk, wine, mountain, cathedral, 
sign, pear, clock, etc. It is the confusion 
and weariness that this causes that finally 
bring sleep. 

But there are nights when, try as I will, 
I cannot keep my mind on any of these 
methods. After a few moments* effort I 
find myself back thinking of her — always 
of her. 

The sounds of the nights! They may 
not be sad in themselves, but for me, as I 
lie listening through the long, sleepless 
hours, they have come to have an inex- 
pressible mournfulness. The hoarse shriek 
of distant ferry-boats, long-drawn-out 
like the cry of some haunted wild thing, 
the sound of dragging hoofs of weary cab 
horses, the faint rumble of the elevated, 
and always in the background, if one lis- 
tens intently, comes that subdued night 
whisper of the city — the great, seething 
city — which even in its sleep is restless and 



September 27th 
How strange a thing is love ! There has 
never been a moment in all these fifteen 
years of our married life that I have not 
loved Horace deeply, completely. And 
yet for the last ten years up to a year ago, 
my love had become a quiet, contented af- 
fection. In these years I did not pick up 
his clothes, his brushes, his gloves, and kiss 
them as I did in the first few years, and 
as I do now. I did not wait for his coming 
with throbbing pulse and flushed cheeks, 
and thrill at his slightest touch, as I did 
in the first few years, and as I -do now. 
The constant companionship of so many 
years had taken away that feverish inten- 
sity and brought in its place a deep, quiet 
contentment. But now — now that I feel 
I am losing him — all the intensity, all the 
f everishness of our early love has returned. 
I love him now as I loved him in the first 
year of our marriage. 

Oh, how strange it all is — and how piti- 
ful! Why should life ordain things so? 


September 28th 
The horror of these long evenings alone 
is eating into my very soul. Alone — 
alone — always alone! It has come to be 
more than a sense of desolation; there are 
times when I am filled with a haunting 
dread, a fear, a nameless terror of I know 
not what. Oh, Horace! if you knew what 
I suffered you would not leave me so much 
alone — you could not, even though you 
no longer love me; your very humanity 
would make you want to help me. 

September 30th 
Last night I walked the streets until 
after midnight! I had reached the stage 
where I could be alone not one moment 
longer. I left the house as though I was 
fleeing from something. I do not know 
where I went — blindly I walked on and 
on, with an endurance I have never known 
before. I had no thought of danger, or 
of the strangeness of the thing I was do- 
ing. I only felt impelled to go on — on! 


Just the streets, the passing people, 
seemed to help me. Sometimes I found 
myself in a neighborhood of small shops 
with cheerful lighted windows; again I 
would pass through blocks of grave, silent 
houses, dark but for an occasional light 
in an upper room; then again by some 
small square, with dim lights shining 
through the dark trees, lighting up some 
bench on which huddled a sleeping tramp. 

On and on I walked, until both mind 
and body seemed numbed into a sort of 
unfeeling weariness. Suddenly, high up 
in the darkness, before me shone an il- 
luminated clock-tower — it was midnight! 
I took the first car-line I came to — an old, 
jangling horse-car — and found I was far 
on the East Side and that I must change 
twice before I could get back home. 

How strange and unfamiliar our house 
seemed when at last I stood before it! I 
had a sense of having been away for a 
great length of time. When I unlocked 
the door and entered the dim hall, 


Horace's hat and coat were there. In a 
dazed way I stared at them; that he might 
come home first had not occurred to me. 
And then slowly came the thought — he 
knew I was not at home — I, who had never 
before been outside of the house alone at 
night — and he had not cared! He was 
not even worried — he had gone calmly to 

I think my first impulse was to go out 
again into the night — to wander on and 
on, never to come back — in some way to 
go out of his life forever. But the physical 
weariness that claimed me was too strong. 
I was faint and dizzy — I could go no 
farther now. Perhaps to-morrow . . . 
To-morrow I would go away. . . . 

Through blinding tears I groped for 
the banisters and dragged myself up the 
stairs. Half way up I stumbled and fell. 
I made no effort to rise. A wave of such 
weakness, such hopelessness, such utter 
misery, swept over me that I wanted to 
lie there — just to lie there, never to move 


again. After a while I was conscious of 
a dusty odor from the thick carpet be- 
neath my cheek, and found myself think- 
ing dully that Ellen must sweep the stairs 
better, and then I could have laughed 
aloud at the irony of the thought. 

Suddenly a door opened from above, 
and a flood of light came out. I knew it 
was Horace, but I did ^jot move-^I did 
not seem to care. Whether he saw me or 
not made no difference to me then. 

"Mary! Maryf He was beside me, 
trying to raise me up. "What has hap- 
pened — why are you hereV 9 

I did not answer. It was not resent- 
ment or bitterness that kept me silent; it 
was only a great indifference. I think my 
ability to suffer or feel anything more just 
then was deadened. I was curiously calm 
and quiet. 

"I thought you were in bed. What does 
this mean?" He had half carried me into 
my room. "What is it, Mary-— are you 




Are you ill? That is what he always 
says; never — are you unhappy, are you 
lonely, heartsick, miserable; but always — 
are you ill? 

"Mary, you must answer me — are you 


"No; I am only drunk!" 

What made me say that I shall never 
know. I did not even know I was saying 
it until I heard the words. I suppose it 
was a form of hysteria, and yet at that 
moment I felt so curiously quiet. I did 
not look up at Horace. I do not know 
what horror or incredulity his face ex- 
pressed, but his hands trembled as he held 
mine. With a strange, impersonal inter- 
est I wondered what he would say. It 
seemed a long while before he spoke. 

"Mary, of course I know what you said 
is not true. I don't know why you said it, 
or what this all means. But I believe you 
are ill, and you must let me send for Dr. 

"I am not ill," I answered very quietly, 


"and I shall not see Dr. Martin. But I 
am very tired; if you will leave me now, I 
should like to go to bed." 

I let my clothes drop from me and 
slipped into bed. Rest — sleep — the need 
was imperative; I had no other thought. 
That strange thing I said was in a way 
true ; there are so many things besides wine 
that can make one drunk. Joy can, if it 
is great enough, and so can misery. 

Again Horace came in and stood beside 
the bed. "Mary, I want you to promise 
that if you are wakeful or nervous during 
the night you will call me. I will leave 
the door open." 

"Very well," I murmured. 

Still he hesitated. "I want you to prom- 
ise, Mary. I want to be sure that if you 
need me you will call." 

"I promise," I answered wearily. And 
I remember nothing more. I must have 
fallen asleep while he stood there. 

It was very late when I awoke. Ellen 
brought up a breakfast-tray, which I sent 


back untouched. She said Mr. Kennedy 
had left word that I was not to be awak- 
ened, and that he would call up during 
the day to know how I was. 

October 6th 
Horace has been at home every evening 
this week. A few months ago this would 
have made me very happy, would have 
filled me with hope, with the belief that 
he was coming back to me, that the cloud 
that had so long darkened my life was to 
be lifted. But I cannot believe that now. 
I feel that it is only a temporary thing, 
that he is staying with me now because 
that night he had a glimpse into the depths 
of my despondency. But when the mem- 
ory of that is less vivid, when he thinks I 
am better and that he can safely leave me 
to myself again, I feel that it will be just 
as it was before. 

October 10th 
I have been afraid to open this journal 
in these last few days, afraid to record the 


hope that is quivering within me, afraid 
that it will only deepen my suffering when 
the change comes. . . . And yet for 
twelve days, now, he has been with me 
every evening — twelve days! . . . 

October 18th 
And I had let myself hope. . . . 

October 14th 
Sometimes I try to comfort myself with 
the thought that in a few years it will not 
matter whether I have been happy or un- 
happy — whether I have been loved or neg- 
lected. After all, life is so short — any con- 
dition is only temporary. Why, then, 
should we fight and struggle so? I have 
often heard people who have taken uncom- 
fortable rooms or been forced into an un- 
congenial neighborhood say: "It is only 
for a short time — we can put up with any- 
thing for a little while; next year we are 
going abroad." The thought that it is only 
[ 154 ] 


for a "short while" makes almost anything 
endurable. And yet life itself is only a 
"short while." If I would always think of 
it like this I would be more reconciled. 

But how rarely one considers life in that 
way; we are constantly striving for some 
"permanent happiness," for conditions 
that we think of as enduring. 

Now and then, by the death of a friend 
or relative, we are brought suddenly to 
realize how "short a time" it is. But in 
a few days we are again planning, striv- 
ing, straining for some condition, some 
goal, with an eagerness and anxiety as 
though it were for all eternity, and not 
merely for a "short while," a few years at 
most, and perhaps only a few months. 

I am marking this page by folding 
down the corner. I want to turn to this 
again and again. I feel if I can keep this 
thought before me — that it is only for a 
"short while," that in a few years it will 
make no difference — I will not suffer so. 


October 15th 

When I went down to the kitchen this 
morning to give some orders to Ellen, 1 
noticed on the pantry door a large litho- 
graph calendar she had hung there. It 
was an advertisement of a well-known 
soap, and represented a young woman 
with a face flawlessly pink and white; and 
underneath: "Creates and preserves a 
perfect complexion." 

Instinctively I glanced in a small glass 
Ellen keeps over the icebox. Oh, the con- 
trast — the ghastly contrast! 

"Ellen, where did that calendar come 
from?" I asked sharply. 

"The grocer's clerk gave it to me, 
ma'am. It's a real pretty one, isn't it?" 

"No; I think it hideous. I don't see 
why you want to disfigure your pantry 
with such cheap, gaudy advertisements. 
If you want a calendar, I will get you 
one; but do take that thing down." 

Poor Ellen, how bewildered and dis- 
tressed she looked. She has been with us 
1 156 ] 


five years, and her devotion to me is un- 
swerving. But I know she often wonders 
what has so changed her once cheerful, 
practical and wholly reasonable mistress 
to a sad and distraught woman, absent- 
minded and forgetful, and who is at times 
even strangely irritable and unjust. 

Afterward I felt very much ashamed of 
my sharpness about the calendar. Have 
I really become so bitter* and so warped 
that I cannot bear to sit beside a young 
and beautiful woman on the car, or even 
see one pictured on a lithograph? Has 
my brooding over my age, my growing 
unloveliness, brought me to this? 

October 16th 
From a car window to-day I saw a 
wretched gray horse in an old wagon 
driven by a couple of boys. It seemed al- 
most too weak to stand, and yet it was 
being mercilessly whipped into a lame gal- 
lop. For just a second I caught sight 
of a great, raw sore from beneath its col- 


lar, and,/ on the leather where it rubbed 
against the sore was a dark, sickening 
stain. Frantically I rang the bell, but it 
was another block before the car stopped, 
and then it was too late. In the mass of 
traffic the horse was nowhere to be seen. 
1 It may have been driven down either of 
the side streets. I questioned a policeman 
on the corner, but he had not noticed it — 
they never do. All day I have been 
haunted by the thought of that wretched 
animal. If only I could have overtaken 
it, had the driver arrested and the poor 
thing shot or cared for. 

But why must I always see such things?,. 
Why can I never go on the street without 
seeing and suffering with every wretched, 
starved, over-burdened horse. If it has a 
sore back or a lame leg, or is being driven 
until its head hangs in abject misery, I 
must always see it. Other people do not — 
they pass by unnoticing, indifferent. How 
can they be so blind, so callous, to the suf- 
fering of horses — poor dumb, patient, help- 


less beasts? Oh, how cruelly so many of 
them are treated! Not the valuable, spirit- 
ed horse, but the worn-out wretches that 
have worked so long and so hard, until they 
can be bought for a mere pittance; and 
their owners think it cheaper to starve and 
overload them to a slow, torturous death, 
and then to buy another equally cheap and 
doom it to the same fate, than to feed 
and care for them humanely. 

How my heart aches for those pitiable 
animals so often seen in pedlers' and cheap 
express wagons! Sometimes when one is 
standing by the curb, if I stop to stroke 
its thin, scarred neck, it will turn to look 
at me with meek, appealing eyes, as 
though begging me to release it from its 

Oh, if I could only gather them all in 
my arms — all those poor old horses, with 
their bent knees, their sore backs, their 
whip-streaked sides — and carry them away 
to some green pasture, where they would 
not be goaded and lashed to further tor- 


ture, but could end their days in the peace 
and rest they have more than earned by 
years of hard and faithful work. 

October 17th 
Lillian Russell is playing here now. 
To-day I went to the matinee. I went 
for one reason only — to see if she had 
retained her youth and beauty to the mar- 
velous degree the papers claimed. I se- 
cured a seat as near the stage as possible — 
the fifth row of the orchestra. When she 
came on I was astonished — no, it needs a 
stronger word than that — astounded is 
better. It was a young woman — a young 
woman — that graciously greeted the ap- 
plause. And yet I knew her to be as old 
if not older than I. I knew that she has 
a married daughter and is a grandmother. 
Of course, she was made up, but I allowed 
for that; without it she would still have 
been young. And that was Lillian Rus- 
sell whom I had seen twenty years before, 
whose picture has been on cigar-boxes for 
[ 160 ] 


as many years or more! I watched her 
jealously as she moved gracefully around 
the stage, smiling, winning, confident of 
her charm. Her role was that of a young 
girl, and she gave it all the exuberance and 
lightness of youth, executing in one act 
something verging on a skirt-dance. And 
it was all done with ease and grace, never 
for a moment seeming ridiculous or even 

I thought of myself or any of the other 
middle-aged women sitting around me go- 
ing through the same antics — how hideous- 
ly absurd we would seem! I don't know 
why I torture myself with such thoughts, 
but I do. All the way home I was pictur- 
ing myself in that part, lashing myself 
with the thought of how ridiculous I would 
have looked. 

What was her secret? Why had I 
faded, while the years left her almost un- 
touched? The life of an actress must be 
hard — harder than that of a shielded, shel- 
tered woman. And yet invariably they 


retain their youth longer. Massage and 
constant care may do a great deal, but I 
believe it is, after all, the nervous tension 
itself, the continual change and excite- 
ment, the very intensity of living, that 
keeps them young. 

October 19th 

I read this sentence in a book to-day: 
"There is nothing more pitiful in life than 
the sight of a woman on her knees trying 
to fan into life a love that has grown cold." 

... A woman on her knees trying 
to fan into life a love that has grown cold! 
And that is what I have been doing for 
months. ... 

October 20th 

There are moments in every woman's 
life that are unforgetable, that even in 
years long after are lived over and over 

What a wonderful document it would 
be if a few women would write honestly 
of what was the most supreme moment 
of their lives, of the moment that stood 

I M» 1 


out above all others in haunting vividness! 

In my own life there have been two 
moments so great that sometimes I feel 
if there had been nothing else, life would 
still have been worth living for — just for 

One was after the birth of our child, 
when Horace was first allowed to see me. 
The nurse opened the door for him and 
then went out, closing it after her — leav- 
ing us alone. Oh, the look in his eyes as 
he came toward the bed and knelt beside 
me! I think he whispered my name, 
"Mary!" but that was all. And even had 
I not been too weak to talk I know he 
would not have spoken. It was a moment 
for which there were no words. I can still 
feel the dear pressure of his face against 
my hand, still thrill at something warm 
and moist that fell there, and at the slight 
roughness of his lips and cheek, which I 
knew meant two days' neglected shaving. 
For the nurse had told me that in the 
forty-eight hours I had been unconscious 


he had hardly left the hall, where tirelessly 
he walked back and forth before my door. 

The other moment was in the old Fifth 
Avenue Hotel a few weeks before our 
marriage. I was standing on an upper 
flight of the wide, rep-carpeted stairs, and 
Horace was coming slowly, reluctantly up 
toward me, with a pale, stern face and de- 
fiant, blazing eyes. Every detail of that 
picture is burned forever in my memory. 
A large, old-fashioned gas-chandelier with 
cut-glass pendants hung in the hall above; 
it shone direct on Horace as he came to- 
ward me, throwing a circle of light over 
the high, white wall and part of the dark 
mahogany banisters, leaving the rest in 

That was the moment — but the hour be- 
fore had made it what it was. 

Father had come to New York on some 
political business, and had brought me 
with him to buy my trousseau. We were 
at the Fifth Avenue, where he had stopped 
for years. That night he was out at some 
[ 164 ] 


meeting. Tired from a day's shopping, I 
had slipped into negligee and was sitting 
by one of the long, low windows, looking 
out at the lights in Madison Square, think- 
ing dreamily of Horace, and of our new 
life, now so near, when there came a sharp 
knock at the door. It was a bellboy with 
a card — Horace's card! 

The blood flew to my face. He was 
there — downstairs! I told the boy to say 
I would be down in a few moments. And 
then with a rush came the thought, why 
need I dress and go down? He was my 
fiance — why could I not receive him as 
I was, up here? Father had taken a two- 
room suite, and one of the rooms was a pri- 
vate parlor, except for a large folding- 
bed. I caught a glimpse of myself in the 
long mirror between the windows ; the pale 
pink negligee I was wearing was far more 
becoming than any dress. Quickly I rang 
for another boy and told him to ask Mr. 
Kennedy to come up. 

I waited in nervous uncertainty and 


doubt. Had I done right? I, who had 
always been so shy and conventional — 
was this conventional? What would he 

Then came his knock. Tremulously I 
opened the door, my face suffused with 
color. In a moment he had me in his 

"My darling! this is so dear of you! I 
never dreamed of having you like this." 
He was kissing my hair, my lips, my 

With an effort I drew away. "But is it 
right? Should I have done this? You 
won't — you won't misunderstand " 

Instantly he released me and stepped 
back. "Misunderstand?* 

"No — no — I don't mean that. Of 
course, I know you won't. I am over- 
sensitive, dear, because — just because it 
is all so near." 

"Dearest!" he whispered tenderly. 
Then he led me over to a large red-plush 
sofa. He did not sit down beside me as 


I expected, but drew up a chair. He told 
me of how he had invented a business trip 
to New York just to see me; that he was 
going to stay over to-morrow, and he 
wanted me to give up shopping for the 
morning and let him take me for a drive. 
He had never been more reverential, more 
reserved. He did not again take me in 
his arms, nor even kiss me. Instinctively 
I knew the cause. It was because of what 
I had implied when he entered — the fear 
that he might misunderstand. And he was 
answering me by being far more con- 
strained and reserved than he would have 
been had I been conventionally gowned in 
the drawing-room at home. 

This very delicacy and restraint made 
me want his love and caresses more than I 
had ever wanted them. I slipped my hand 
timidly through his arm. 

"You needn't be so cold and distant just 
because I was — very — foolish when you 
came in." 

"Dear, I'm not cold." 


"Well, I want to be noticed" with a 
little laugh. 

"And am I not noticing you? What 
do you think IVe been doing since I came 
in— admiring the chandelier?" 

"Oh, I hate you when you're— face- 

"I'm not facetious, dear. I'm only try- 
ing to be as I thought you would rather 
have me. I thought you were a little self- 
conscious, and I wanted to put you at 


Suddenly, impulsively, I turned and 
buried my face against his arm. 

"Oh, IVe missed you so — IVe wanted 
your kisses so!" 

"Have you, dear — have you really 
wanted them?" He had drawn me close 
to his side now. I could feel his heart 
beating hard and fast. And yet he did 
not kiss me. It was as though he was 
holding me to him, and yet away from 

Something seemed forcing me on — 
I MB ] 


forcing me to break down his reserve. As 
I raised my arm to his shoulder, the lace 
sleeves fell back and my bare arm brushed 
his face and neck. I felt him quiver at 
the touch, and then he drew back, push- 
ing me almost roughly from him. 

"But you haven't kissed me! I want 
you to kiss me." 

"Mary — don't, dear! Let me go — 

Both of my bare arms were around his 
neck now, and I was drawing his lips down 
to mine. Then with a smothered exclama- 
tion he crushed me in his arms, kissing me 
as he had never kissed me before — burn- 
ing kisses that seemed to scorch. 

The pin that held my gown at the neck 
became unfastened, baring my throat 
down to the lace of my lingerie. I tried 
quickly to ref asten it, but he forced back 
my hand, and I felt his burning kisses on 
my bare neck and shoulders. 

With a sick sense of terror — of horror, 
of something I cannot describe — I 


wrenched myself free and stood before 
him. I never knew what I said, but they 
were words of fierce, scathing denuncia- 
tion, and then my voice broke — I covered 
my face with my hands. 

I heard him walk over to the window. 
The silence of the room was horrible. 
When I dropped my hands and looked to- 
ward him, he was standing motionless be- 
fore the window. At length he turned 
and came toward me. 

"I will say good-night, Mary. I know 
of nothing else to say. I shall not come 
again until you send for me." 

I saw him walk across the room, take 
up his hat and turn to the door. Then 
it closed after him. In the next few mo- 
ments there swept over me such a wave of 
understanding, of knowledge, of realiza- 
tion that the fault had been mine — mine — 
that I alone had been to blame, and that 
he had been too generous to tell me sol 
That he had accepted in silence my scath- 


ing rebuke, and left me without a word 
of defense. 

Snatching from the wardrobe a long 
opera cloak, I threw it around me and 
rushed down the hall, the wide winding 
stairs, one flight, then another — and then 
I saw him still a flight below. 

"Horace!" He turned. He made no 
move toward me. I went down a few more 
steps, holding fast to the banisters. 

And then he came toward me — slowly, 
reluctantly — his face white, his eyes like 
burnished steel. And that was the mo- 
ment! The moment in which I first 
realized the greatness of my love for him — 
of all that it meant — of how completely 
my happiness, my life, lay in his keeping. 
Until then I had given him only a young 
girl's love, but now it was a woman's love; 
and with it came a deep sense of awe and 
of exaltation. 

"Horace," I whispered, "forgive 
me " 

1 171 J 


"There is nothing to forgive/' he an- 
swered quietly, coldly. 

He walked up the stairs beside me to 
my door, and held it open for me. He 
made no movement to enter; with another 
cold "Good-night" he would have closed 
it, had I not touched his arm. 

"Horace, I cannot let you go like this. 
I love you! I never knew how much be- 
fore, Horace!" 

He gazed at me steadily. Slowly the 
cold steel-hardness died out of his eyes. 
He took both my hands in his; then I felt 
his lips against my forehead. 

"Mary, dear little girl, good-night." 

Most of that night I sat by the window, 
filled with many emotions that I had never 
known before, and with a love that had 
grown stronger, deeper and more tender 
than it had ever been. 

October 21st 

. Sometimes I feel that if through this 

past year Horace had lied to me in both 

acts and words, if he had dissembled more, 

[ 172 ] 


pretended that his love for me was un- 
changed, if he had taken me in his arms 
and caressed me as he used to do, I might 
never have known. I might still be happy 
in ignorance of any one else in his life. 

To constantly live such a lie would be 
abhorrent to him. But I do not believe 
that was his only reason. I believe he 
has too much reverence for the memories 
of our past love to desecrate them now by 
giving me a mere pretense, an empty sham, 
the reality of which he gives to another 
woman. Nor will he degrade me by of- 
fering me any form of love that with him 
would no longer be love. 

In my heart I respect him for this. But, 
oh! I have suffered so much! Sometimes 
I feel that if by not knowing I could have 
escaped this suffering . . . If it were 
given me to go back over this year and 
have him feign for me a love he does not 
feel — and I live on unknowing — would I 
have it so? If I did not know and did not 
sufferl If I could be made to believe that 


he loved me — and would be happy in that 
belief, even though it were not true . . . 
Would I want happiness on such terms? 
Oh, I don't know — I don't know — I have 
suffered so much. . . . Heart-hunger 
and desolation and anguished loneliness 
have made of me such a coward. If it 
lay in my power there is no condition I 
might not welcome if it would only mean 
cessation from suffering. 

October 23d 

To-night I took out my marriage certifi- 
cate and read it over and over. His name 
and mine — "Horace E. Kennedy and 
Mary R. Craige are this day united in 
holy matrimony . . ." How little that 
means now ! And yet it is all I have left — 
that bit of paper is all that now makes me 
his wife. 

No! no! I do not mean that — I do not 
believe that! It is not merely that paper 
— it is these fifteen years of our life to- 
gether that holds him now. For I know 
if there had been no ceremony — had I 


lived with him all these years without this 
certificate — he would still feel the same 
sense of duty, of obligation, to me that 
he feels now. He can never forget that 
I have given him the fifteen best years of 
my life. A year ago I would have loathed 
myself for always thinking of that claim, 
but now I cannot help it. I hug the 
thought to my heart. I have given him my 
youth, I have given the best of my life. 
No other woman's claim can be as strong 
as that. 

October 24tii 

In a magazine to-day, I came across a 
page of well-known people — actors, ar- 
tists, writers — picturing them as they look 
now, and as they will look when they are 
eighty! In each face the artist had clever- 
ly kept the likeness of feature and expres- 
sion, but distorted it with the wrinkled, 
shriveled aspect of gaunt old age. It was 
a ghastly idea, but the magazines now ex- 
ploit any idea if it be only striking. 

Always any thought of age I apply 
[ W ] 


to myself. Somehow I have never thought 
of Horace as ever growing old — in some 
vague way I have felt that he would al- 
ways remain the same. But now for the 
first time I pictured him as old — old! 
How would he look at eighty? What 
would he be like? At forty-six he is a 
strikingly handsome, vigorous, virile man. 
But what cruel changes will thirty-four 
years make? 

I remember once sitting in the Senate 
gallery at Washington, and looking down 
at a very old member, a man who had long 
been before the public, but who was now 
in his dotage. He sat there, a pathetic, 
decrepit figure, leaning tremblingly on his 
cane, his mouth half open. I was told 
that age had weakened the muscles of his 
mouth, and that he habitually held it that 
way. I remember my feeling of repul- 
sion and pity at the idiotic expression it 
gave his face. And when later he arose 
to speak, his voice was painfully shrill and 



Will Horace ever be like that — Horace, 
with his virile strength and his rich, full 
voice? Oh, no— no — I cannot bear that 
thought! If only I could throw my arms 
around him and shield him with my love 
from a change so merciless. 



October *5th 
Colonel and Mrs. Crompton, from 
Washington, are stopping at the Savoy. 
Last year when Horace had the Stensons* 
case in the Supreme Court, and was in 
Washington so often, several times I went 
with him, and Mrs. Crompton entertained 
us at dinner, both at her home and at the 
Willard. This is the first opportunity we 
have had to return their hospitality, and 
now I must have them here at least once. 
But, oh, how I dread it! I shrink so from 
the thought of trying to entertain now — 
to give a dinner — to make a pretense at 
gaiety when my heart is breaking! But 
if it must be done I am anxious to have it 
over, so I have invited them for Tuesday. 
I feel that it might be easier to have some 


one else, so I have asked Mr. and Mrs. 

I talked with Horace about it this 
morning, and he has promised to come 
home early Tuesday and help receive them. 
I am going to engage a caterer to pre- 
pare and serve the dinner. I haven't the 
heart to look after it myself, and Mary 
could not do it alone. Oh, how difficult 
everything seems now — how everything 
weighs upon me. Always before I have 
taken such keen pleasure in planning and 
arranging a dinner at home. But now — 
what does my home mean to me now? 

October 27th 
Horace misunderstood me; he thought 
the dinner was for Thursday, not Tues- 
day. When I asked him this morning to 
be sure not to forget to come home early, 
so that he would have time to dress before 
they came, he looked up startled. "Why, 
it isn't to-night? You said Thursday." 
As I had not even considered Thursday, I 


don't see how he could have made the 
mistake. He seemed much worried, said 
he was not sure that he could come early 
this evening. I almost cried in my anx- 
iety. I said that he must — that I couldn't 
receive those people alone. All I could 
make him say was: "I will try to come. 
I misunderstood the day, and I have made 
other arrangements, but I will come if I 

"But if you can't come early, you will 
at least come in time for dinner?" I per- 
sisted excitedly. 

"I will if I can, Mary; I told you that." 

It took all my self-control to keep from 
crying out — from demanding why he 
could not come — f rom letting go all the 
accusations and denunciations I have held 
back for so long. 

When he had gone I threw myself on 
the couch, weak and trembling with the 
effort of self-restraint. But I knew I 
must not give way — I must keep up for 
to-night. It is too late to stop the dinner 


now, and before those guests I must be 
smiling and self-contained. They must 
not know — they must not see. ... If 
he does not come I must be prepared to 
make excuses— easy, graceful excuses! 

The dinner is over — and he did not 
come. He has not come yet. At eight — 
just as we were going into the dining- 
room — he telephoned. Said he was very 
sorry, but that it would be impossible for 
him to get here. And then he said good- 
by and rang off, before I had time to ask 
any questions or make any protest. I do 
not even know where he was when he tele- 
phoned. After that I went through the 
dinner as best I could, but I feel that it 
was a failure — a pitiful failure. In spite 
of my attempted gaiety and my carefully 
careless excuses for Horace, I know they 
felt something was wrong. There was a 
forced, constrained atmosphere through 
the whole evening. And what hurt me 


most was their attempts to help — their 
pretense that they did not see. I presume 
I ought to be grateful, but it is hard to 
be pitied. They left early; for that I was 

I am writing this hoping it will calm 
me — that the mere effort of writing will 
take away some of this feverish bitterness. 
For I am afraid — afraid that when he 
comes I shall lose all my self-control, and 
that at last I shall speak — cry out all that 
I have been silent about for so long. For 
I know that he is with her — nothing else 
would have kept him away. It is for her 
that he let me go through this alone. 

November 1st 
I have spoken. Am I glad or sorry? 
Has it made things better or worse? I 
don't know. I don't know. I still feel 

It all happened that night — Tuesday 
night. I haven't written since — I couldn't. 
It was half -past one when he came home. 


I heard him go straight to his room. My 
door was open, the light shining out in 
the hall, and yet he made no effort to come 
in, to make any explanation. He went 
direct to his room. If he had only come 
to my door and made even a pretext at 
an excuse, I think I would not have 
spoken. But his quiet ignoring of it all 
maddened me beyond endurance. The 
strain of the dinner, the long, feverish wait 
for him — it had all gone to make me des- 
perate. And now, with a feeling of utter 
recklessness — a recklessness such as I have 
never known before — I went to his room 
and knocked. The door opened; he stood 
there inquiringly. 

"Why did you not come?" 

"It was impossible." His eyes were 
coldly quiet. 


"I told you, Mary, that it was impossi- 

"Why?" My lips and throat were dry. 

"Listen, Mary; I am sorry you had to 
[ 183 ] 


entertain at this dinner alone. I regret it 
very much. I told you that over the 
'phone. I would have come if I could, but 
I could not Now, I think you had better 
let the matter rest there." 

"Where were you?" 

He did not answer. 

"Where were you? You must tell me 
where you were to-nightF 

Still no answer. 

"Do you mean that you won't answer 
me — that you 'won't even tell me where 
you have been?" I was frightened. I 
knew I should stop — that I was going too 
far — that I .would only suffer more for 
this. But I knew, too, that I could not 
stop now — I knew I would go on and 
on. • . . 

"Then you refuse to tell me where you 
have been?" 

"I must refuse, Mary, to be catechized 
in this way. Will you let me say good- 
night now?" He came toward the door 



as though to close it. That movement 
broke the last of my self-control. 
| "Then I will tell you where you have 
been. You were with another woman — 
the woman for whom you have neglected 
me for over a year I And you thought I 
didn't know — didn't know you were in the 
toils of some woman — a bad, shameless 
woman — a common " 

"Mary!" He took a step toward me, 
his hands clenched, his face ghastly pale. 

"Oh, I know you could kill me for say- 
ing that. I only wish you would! Don't 
you think I would welcome death instead 
of this life IVe been living for months? 
But it shall not go on. You will promise 
me now that you will never see her again, 
or I will end it all to-night! Will you 
promise me that— will you? •Will you 
promise never to see that . . ." 

There was something in his face — some- 
thing that . . . 

"Then go to her— live with heiv-marry; 
[ 185 ]| 


her if you will! I will never trouble you 

A great red wave •seemed before my 
eyes as I rushed down the hall into the 
bath-room and locked the door. The bot- 
tles — the bottles on the medicine-shelf! 
Glycerine, toilet-water, bay rum — in a 
frenzied glance my eyes swept the labels. 
Was there nothing — nothing that would 
give oblivion — that would end it all for- 

The door was being fiercely shaken. 
"Open this door, Mary!" his voice came 
hoarsely from the outside, "Opennt, or 
I will break it down!" 

I must find something. quick — quick — 
before he wrenched the door from its 
hinges. I knocked some bottles from the 
shelf as I frantically thrust them aside to 
get to those behind. Camphor, witch- 
hazel, glycerine — oh, was there nothing — 
nothing? Then back of them all shone 
the label "Laudanum — Poison!" 

And then — my trembling fingers broke 


the cork. Half of it remained tight in the 
neck of the bottle. He was throwing his 
whole weight upon the door now — in a mo- 
ment it would come down. I tore the scarf- 
pin from my dress — it bent in the cork. 
Then I caught up a tooth-brush and thrust 
the handle against the cork — it yielded. 
Another thrust pushed it down in the bot- 


I raised it to my lips. • . . A deaf- 
ening crash. Glass fell shattering all 
around me, I stood paralyzed. Through 
the empty door-frame, from which he had 
shivered the heavy ground-glass, Hor- 
ace's white face and dark, gleaming eyes 
were fixed upon me. Another second and 
he had reached through a bloodstained 
hand, unlocked the door, threw it open, 
jerked the bottle from me and hurled it to 
the floor. I heard it break and smelled the 
pungent odor of laudanum. 

Then he half led, half carried me to 
the couch in my room. The blood from 


his cut hand had dripped down the front 
of my dress, and there was a large red 
stain on the lace of my sleeve. I gazed at 
it dully. At the moment I think I was 
incapable of any feeling. I heard him 
go back into the bath-room. He returned 
with a towel wrapped around his hand. 
Neither of us had spoken. I was trem- 
bling, quivering all over. Not crying — I 
could not cry. He sat down beside the 
couch and laid his hand on my shoulder, 
as though to quiet me. 

I closed my eyes, and slowly there stole 
over me a strange sense of quiet — of peace, 
like the calm of some strong narcotic. I 
know now the sensation Helen Chandler 
spoke of — the exhaustion that sometimes 
comes after a fierce passion has wrecked 

I don't know how long he stayed beside 

me, or how long it was before I slept. 

When I awoke it was dawn. A blanket 

had been laid over me, and I was alone. 



From under his door shone a strip of 
bright light — he was still awake. 

No reference to that night has been 
made between us since. Only a bandaged 
hand and a bloodstained dress (carefully 
hid away) bear testimony to that night. 

The next morning I forced myself to go 
down to breakfast. He was very pale, 
and his hand was thickly bandaged; but 
he said "Good-morning" quietly, as 
though nothing had happened. During 
the day a glazier called to fix the bath- 
room door; evidently he had telephoned 
for one from his office. He made no men- 
tion of it to me. That night, when he came 
home to dinner, I saw that his hand had 
been dressed and skilfully bandaged. He 
had been to a surgeon, then. Was the cut 
deep? Could it be anything serious? But 
I dared not ask him. I can see that he has 
it bandaged fresh every day. Does it pain 
him? My heart aches with pity and anx- 
iety ; but I can say nothing. 


November 3d 
"The relations of men and women can 
never remain stationary. They must either 
go forward or backward; there is no rest- 
ing place, no height that can be perma- 
nently held." 

Is that true, or was it written, as such 
things usually are, only for literary effect? 
His love for her — has it yet reached the 
heights, that it must soon recede? 

To what self-abnegation have I been 
subdued that I could write that last sen- 
tence — to imply that I was willing to wait 
for his love of her to wane that he might 
come back to me! 

November 4th 
I remember long ago saying to Horace 
that I had no special talent. Art, music, 
literature, languages — I had a superficial 
aptitude for them all, but a real talent for 

And he answered tenderly: "Sweet- 
[ 190 1 


heart, you have the greatest of all talents 
— a wonderful talent for loving." 

"A talent for loving!" Yes, I have had 
that, and the saddest part of all is that 
I have it still. "A talent for loving!" And 
I am a faded wife of forty-five, whose hus- 
band loves another woman. "A talent for 
loving!" Horace, it is breaking my heart. 
Why did it not die within me when it 
ceased to give you pleasure? 

"A talent for loving!" Oh, it did make 
you happy opce, Horace. Have you for- 
gotten how often you held me in your 
arms, murmuring that no other woman in 
the world could love so dearly, so tender- 
ly, that no one else could have such quaint 
little ways of loving? Have you forgot- 
tenthe ' 'whisperingkisses" — touching, oh, 
so softly your hair and eyes with my lips, 
or laying my head on your shoulder and 
just sweeping your neck with my eye- 
lashes — a little purring caress all my own? 
And oh, so many tender, intimate love* 


ways — have you forgotten them, Horace? 
Have you forgotten them all? 

And when you came home tired, fretted, 
and with a cruel headache, I would kneel 
by the couch beside you, with my lips 
pressed against your forehead, until my 
very love would draw away the pain. And 
you would fall asleep, often with your arm 
clasped close around me, and however 
cramped or numb I might become, I would 
still kneel there, not moving for fear of 
waking you. 

Will any other woman love you like 
that, Horace? Will any other woman 
give you so much? Oh, I am crying so 
I cannot see to write. 

November 5th 

If our child had lived I To have had it 
with us every day, to know that life was 
there because we had loved I My child 
and his — a constant living reminder of 
all that our love had meant, knowing that 
out of it had grown all the immortality 
[ 192 ] 


that life can give. Gould any one have 
ever come between us then? 

November 6th 

I have been reading back through this 
journal. Last April the twenty-seventh 
I wrote this : 

"Once he knows that I know, I would 
have to leave him. If there is in me any 
vestige of womanly pride, I could not con- 
tinue to live with him and tacitly consent 
to be daily dishonored." 

And yet that is what I am doing now! 
I am still living with him, though now he 
knows that I know. And I have not the 
strength to go away! 

November 7th 

I have become so nervous and unstrung 
lately that I dread even to go out on the 
streets alone. To-day I was almost half 
an hour trying to cross a crowded corner. 
Cars, cabs, trucks, recklessly driven auto- 
mobiles, and a crashing, deafening ele- 
vated overhead — it all seemed to terrify 


me. I stood on the curb afraid to cross. 
Several times I started and then ran back 
as an automobile swept down upon me. 
At last a policeman came and walked over 
beside me. When I reached home I was 
weak from strained, quivering nerves. 
And a year ago I could dart fearlessly 
across the most crowded street! I know 
that this strange, unreasoning fear I now 
have for the most trivial things is growing 
upon me. When Horace came home I 
wanted to cry out to him to stay with me, 
to put his arms about me, to keep away 
this haunting fear. I believe if I could 
only tell him — if he knew — he would try 
to help me — he would not let this grow 
upon me. 

November 8th 
This morning I awoke with such a 
weight of despondency, of hopelessness, 
that I felt I could not meet another day. 
The mere thought of bathing, of dressing, 
of going through the necessary routine of 


the day, bore upon me as something too 
difficult of accomplishment. 

The cold air from an open window was 
blowing on me, but to cross the room and 
put down the window seemed an effort 
that would take more initiative, more 
strength, more courage, than I had to 

Did any one ever turn their face to the 
wall and say: "I am through. The bur- 
den of life is too heavy— I will never take 
it Up again," and then lie there until 
death released them? And would the re- 
lease come soon? This morning I felt if 
only I could lie there, that to me it would 
come very soon, for my body seemed too 
weak, too weary, to hold life within it 
much longer. 

November 9th 

I spend hours lately planning meetings 
with her. Night after night I lie awake, 
picturing what such an encounter would 
be like. Sometimes I think of meeting 
her on the street with him. What would 


he do? Would he merely bow to me and 
pass on, or would he stop and speak? 
Would he introduce her — and how? 

Never in all these years have I seen my 
husband with another woman. Could I 
pass on proudly serene, or would I break 
down in some emotional way? 

Again and again I picture scenes — 
ghastly scenes — in which I go to her apart- 
ment, and there confront them both. I 
have pictured him, white and stern, step- 
ping to her side and saying: "Why have 
you come here? This is the woman I love 
— I shall never leave her." 

Again, 1 have pictured him starting to 
come toward me, when he saw me at the 
door. And then she would come between 
us, throwing herself in his arms — keeping 
him from me. 

The scenes are always different, but the 
apartment I see is always the same — a 
luxuriously furnished room with shaded 
lights and burning gas-logs. I always pic- 
ture her there in a soft white house- 


gown, with Horace sitting near, reading 
aloud or bending over her, talking tender- 
ly, earnestly. 

Is her apartment anything like I pic- 
ture it? The whole atmosphere of the 
room and many of its details seem so dis- 

How strange such imaginings are! 

And why do I always think of her as 
frail and delicate? Is it because I feel 
that is how her appeal to Horace would 
be strongest? Will I ever meet her? And 
will it be in any of these ways? 

I know that with all my heart I hope 
such a meeting will never occur; it would 
only increase my suffering and degrada- 
tion a hundred-f old. And yet I am always 
planning, always picturing, always living 

Why must I torture myself so? Why 
cannot I keep my mind from such things? 

[197 J 


November 10th 
These is something so sad about the 
doing of anything for the last time. To- 
day I was packing away Horace's sum- 
mer clothes, as I have every fall for fif- 
teen years, and my heart was sick with 
fear that it was for the last time — that I 
would never do that again. 

Oh, if I could only be told that it was 
not for the last time! If fate would let 
me look into the future and I could see 
myself once more putting away those sum- 
mer things! If only I could be sure that 
next fall — a year from now — it would still 
be I who would again fold them away ! 

November 11th 
To-day this letter came from Edith 



I have said I was spending this week with 
you. If Frank telephones from Boston, say 
that I have just gone out — make any excuse, 
but make him believe that I am with you. 

Whatever you may think — whatever your dis- 
approval may be — you will help me in this now. 
Life owes me these four days of happiness — 
after that I shall have only memories. The fu- 
ture will hold nothing else. 

For myself I would scorn this subterfuge — 
but I cannot wholly forget my children. Hold 
any letters that may come in your care. I will 
come to New York Saturday for a few hours. 

What does it mean? "Four days — after 
that I shall have only memories." Has 
she gone away with the man she loves for 
these four days, that they may have this 
one glimpse of happiness? And then to 
separate — to send him from her forever? 

Pour days alone with the man she loves! 
Of the moral right or wrong I cannot 
think just now — I can only think of what 
those four days will mean, even with the 
anguish of parting over them. 

A year ago I would have recoiled from 


lending even passive aid to such a thing, 
hut now I have come to know more of life, 
its bitterness, its heart-hunger. 

If Edith Carrington has the courage to 
wrest from fate these four days and pay 
for them afterward, as in some way she 
must pay, can I presume to say : "It must 
not he — it is wrong"? 

I know that I would barter my own soul 
could it bring me four such days with 
Horace! There is no price I would not 
pay to have again even for that short time 
the same love and tenderness and intimacy 
that we once had. 

And Edith Carrington never had it. 
From the beginning her marriage was a 
ghastly thing. How then can I judge her 
for fiercely asserting her right to these 
four days? 

November 13th 
This morning's mail brought a letter ad- 
dressed to Edith. It was postmarked 
Boston, and was in Frank Carrington's 
[ 200 ] 


writing. There have been no telephone 
inquiries, and I have had no further word 
from her. 

I am thinking of her constantly, and 
always with that feeling that I should 
have been able to have helped her more — ■ 
that I might even have saved her from 

The more I dwell on it all, the more I 
fear for her. "The memories of these four 
days" — will they comfort her in the future 
as she thinks, or will her future be more 
unbearable because of them? 

November 15th 
This afternoon a cab stopped at our 

door and Edith Carrington stepped out. 

She was in a gray tailored suit, was heavily 

veiled. The cabman followed with two 

large traveling-bags. 

When I brought her up to my room, I 

was frightened. She looked so ill. She 

was very pale, her hands were like ice, and 

she was trembling violently. 
[ 201 ]j 


"I want to stay until to-morrow. I 
can't bear to go home to-night," was all 
she said. 

I brought a warm tea-gown, made her 
undress and lie down. 

"It is over," she said dully. "He sailed 
at noon." And then she turned her face 
to the wall. I felt she would rather be 
alone, so I left her then. Later when I 
came in she was still staring at the wall 
with eyes dark with suffering. 

When Horace came, I told him Edith 
was here, but that she had a sick headache 
and would not be down for dinner. He 
expressed his sympathy, and said he hoped 
she would stay several days. I can see 
that he is always glad now to have some 
one visiting me; it makes him feel more 
free to leave me — to spend the evenings 
with her! 

I took up a small tray to Edith, but she 

could not eat. She asked me to sit in the 

room with her — to read or sew — that she 

did not want to be alone. I was glad to 

[ 202 ] 


know I could be of some little comfort; 
I have felt so helpless to help her through 
it all. 

It was not until I was leaving her for 
the night that she called me back. 

"Mary, there is one thing I want to 
tell you, and then I don't think I can 
ever speak of this again. You think I sent 
him away because I had come to feel our 
love was wrong, and because of the chil- 
dren. That is not true — and I want you 
to know the truth. 

"I have given him up because I knew 
I could not hold him. I ended it while it 
was still in my power to end it. I don't 
mean that he would have left me; his sense 
of duty and obligation would have held 
him, but I did not want that. If I had 
told him that was my reason for parting, 
he would have persuaded me that I was 
mistaken. So I lied to him. I said it was 
because of the children. 

"So we took these four days alone for 
farewell. And oh, it was wonderful !" She 


held out her arms with a stifled sob. 
"However black and desolate may be the 
future, I will have the memory of those 
four days. 

"We have never been really alone be- 
fore. There had been only stolen hours, 
clouded by constant deceptions and pre- 
cautions that we both hated, that always 
filled us with a sense of degradation. 

"But these four days we were free from 
all that. He took me to a quaint old coun- 
try inn, sixty miles from Boston. And" 
— tensely — "it has made him love me more 
— infinitely more. The very fact of his 
losing me— that I was drawing away — 
made him want me more. That"— bitter- 
ly — "is the nature of man — to value a 
thing more when he is losing it. 

"Oh, I knew all that — I counted on that 
when I planned it. I knew that had I the 
courage to end it this way, he would leave 
me with his heart full of longing, of de- 

"The last thing he said was: C A word _ 
[ 204 ] 


will bring me back to you/ But I shall 
never send that word. I have ended it now 
at its best. I shall never see it die the 
death that such things always do." 

November 16th 
Edith Carrington has gone back to Bos- 
ton. Will she have the courage of her reso- 
lution? Can she live on the memory of 
those four days, or later will she weaken 
and send for him? Once more I am filled 
with a sense of my powerlessness. I can- 
not help her — I can only wait. 

November 17th 
How few books appeal to me now ! Be- 
side the real tragedies that in this past 
year have come into my life, the carefully 
wrought plots of fiction seem so artificial, 
so meaningless. 

Life is so much more complex, so much 

more involved than any sectional portrayal 

of it can be. In fiction it is always some 

definite solution for some definite prob- 



lem, in which all the threads of causation 
are brought to bear on some culminating 

Life — real life — is so unlike this. Its 
problems are so intricate, so baffling, and 
for most of them there are no solutions. 
The threads of causation are hopelessly 
entangled in a labyrinth of events that 
solve nothing, prove nothing, unless it be 
the thwarting, inexorable chaos of it all. 

November 18th 
I am almost happy to-day. It is be- 
cause when I asked Horace this morning 
about the furnace, about having it thor- 
oughly gone over before cold weather, he 
spoke of a new furnace. Said this one 
was nearly worn out, that "we will 
have to have a new one next winter, and 
we might as well put it in now." 

"We will have to have a new one next 
winter . . ." That phrase has been sing- 
ing in my heart all day. It has been so 
long since he has made any reference to 
[ 206 ] 


the future, and now this has given me a 
little of the old feeling of security and 
permanency in our home. 

November 19th 
For years we have gone to my brother's 
for Thanksgiving dinner, and they have 
always spent New Year's with us. This 
morning I received a letter from Kather- 
ine, my brother's wife, with the annual in- 
vitation. I read the letter to Horace at 
the breakfast table. 

"Do you really care to go this year? ,, 
"Why, it wouldn't seem like Thanks- 
giving anywhere else, would it?" I asked, 
struggling against the sick wave that al- 
ways comes over me now at each breaking 
away of our old customs and our old life. 
"Well, I had thought we might have 
dinner at home this year. If we could 
have it early, about six o'clock, it would 
give me an opportunity to accept an en- 
gagement for later in the evening, partial- 
[ 207 1 


ly a business matter with an out-of-town 

And then, as he saw the color leave my 

"Of course we will go" — hastily. "I 
didn't know you cared so much about it." 

November 20th 
I have written Katherine that we can- 
not come this year. He was willing to 
go, almost insisted upon going when he 
saw how it affected me. But I have no 
heart for it now. He wants to spend the 
evening with her. It would be only pity 
that kept him with me, and I do not want 

One by one all the ties and customs of 
our life together are being broken. The 
end cannot be far off. Will I have the 
strength to meet it? Now and then my 
crushed pride cries out that I will never 
try to hold him through pity. And yet 
deep in my heart I am afraid, afraid that 
should it come to his leaving me alto- 
[ 208 ] 


gether, I would try to hold him in any 
way I could, through pity, through my 
legal right — desperately I would use any 
claim, any means, just to hold him. 

November 21st 

In one of the December magazines there 
is an article compiled from the opinions 
of a dozen prominent people as to what 
Christmas gift they would give the world, 
if it lay in their power to bestow some one 

One writes he would give to every child 
an equal education; another that her gift 
would be universal temperance; another 
would confer a wider religious instinct; 
and still another the equa^chance for work. 

And I — were the power of the one 
world-gift granted me — I would satisfy 
the need for love in the breast of every 
heart-hungry woman! 

November 22d 

It snowed heavily during the night, the 
first deep snow of the season. I was 


awakened early this morning by the sound 
of scraping shovels. When I drew up the 
blinds, the scene was like a great Christ- 
mas card. The trees are beautiful, each 
branch bending patiently under its burden 
of snow. The street, except for a few 
tracks in the center, is yet unbroken. A 
few hours' traffic and all that purity and 
whiteness will be trampled and soiled. 

It is a dry, clinging snow and has filled 
the window-sills and is packed up several 
inches against the glass. I raised one of 
the windows and took up a great hand- 
ful. There is always something exhila- 
rating to me about the smell of snow — that 
crisp, illusive odor that is indescribable. 
Even though it is very cold, for a long 
time I stood at the open window breath- 
ing in the fresh keen air. How wonder- 
ful the country would be to-day. If 
Horace would only take me for a long 
sleigh-ride, as he used to do! 

I am a little happier this morning — just 
because of this snow. 



November 28d 
I have been reading one of John Oliver 
Hobbs' novels, in which she says: 

"It is a mistake to think our prayers are 
not answered — they are. We get our 
heart's desire when we have ceased to care 
for it" 

My heart's desire — Horace's love — will 
I ever cease to want that? Everything I 
read now which bears on life, love, happi- 
ness or unhappiness, I seem to apply in 
some way to Horace and myself— to the 
condition of our lives now, 1 cannot help 
it; my thoughts always come back to that. 

November 24th 
Thanksgiving Day, and, oh, such a piti- 
able one! The long course-dinner is over. 
We had it all alone. Neither of us could 
eat. I could not swallow past the lump 
in my throat, and he seemed worried and 
absent-minded, as he almost always is now. 
After dinner he made some vague excuse 


about an out-of-town client and hurried 

I can see how he hates to lie. All his 
life he has despised an untruth more than 

anything else, and now — now Oh, 

what power has this woman to change his 
whole nature — to force him into constant 
subterfuge and deception? 

[ 212 ]| 


■ Hotel, Brooklyn, November 29th 

A cheerless hotel room, a bed, a table, 
a stationary washstand, three chairs, a 
telephone on the wall and a card of hotel 
laws and regulations on the back of the 
door. My silver brushes on the bureau, 
and my suit-case on a chair — how strange- 
ly unfamiliar they look! For two days 
they have been there — and yet ... I 
cannot put it into words — I only know 
that.often in these two days I have spread 
a towel over the bureau and have hid the 
suit-case in the wardrobe. And then there 
is nothing in sight that recalls . • . 
Nothing except the telephone. That is 
just the same — even the same green book 
hangs beneath it. By taking down that 
receiver and whispering a number — at any 
[ 213 ]. 


moment — I could . . . But no! no! I 
shall go mad if I think of that For two 
days I have been fighting that thought. 

Why did I bring with me this journal? 
If I must write — if the only relief I know 
is putting my suffering into words- 
would it not have been better to have be- 
gun anew? Why did I put in my suit- 
case this record of the life I was leaving? 
The very cover of the book, even the feel 
of the soft leather, brings back my desk 
before me — the gilt inkstand, the blotting- 
pad, the silver paper-knife, the tiny re- 
volving calendar, the address-book — are 
they still lying carelessly as I left them, 
or have they been locked away? I can 
almost hear the ticking of my small French 
desk-clock. Will I ever see it again? Will 
I ever take it from its case and wind it, 
as I have so many hundred times? I am 
praying that I will — that I will! Only 
two days and — oh, God! how I want to 
go back! 



November 80th 

That night — the events that at last 
drove me from my home! For two days 
and nights I have walked up and down 
this room, living it over and over, always 
with the anguished questioning — could I 
have stayed? Was there any way I could 
have kept any vestige of my self-respect 
and still have stayed? 

Why did I go to the door— why did I 
listen? Never before have I stooped to 
so contemptible a thing. Why did I do 
it then? 

We were at dinner when the telephone 
rang. Horace dropped his napkin and 
hurried up to the library. There was 
something so tense, so anxious in his man- 
ner, and he had been so silent and pre- 
occupied all through the dinner. 

Was he expecting this message? Was 
it from her? I arose from the table and 
went half way up the stairs until I could 
see the library door. It was closed. There 
was something in the sight of that closed 


door that sent the fierce hot blood sur- 
ging through me. Was he talking to this 
woman in our house — closing the door on 
me and talking to her? Deliberately I 
walked to the door and listened. I would 
know — I had a right to know. 

"Temperature 102 ? Is the doctor there 
now? Why did you not send for me be- 
fore? Yes, at once. Tell her I am com- 
ing at once." 

I made no attempt to slip away. I was 
leaning against the door when he opened 
it. For a second he stood motionless, 

"You have listened?" 


"I am sorry you did that," he said quiet- 
ly, as he passed me on his way upstairs. 

I caught his arm. "If I have listened, 
it is you who have driven me to it." 

He made no answer; he merely released 
his arm and went on upstairs. In a few 
moments he came down with his hat and 


coat. I was still waiting where he had left 
me in the hall. Again I caught his arm. 

"You are not going to that woman to- 

"Mary, I am sorry you are doing this; 
it is only humiliating to us both." 

Even in the dim light of the hall I could 
see he was very pale. 

"You are not going to that woman to- 

He passed on down the hall to the front 
door. I ran ahead of him and stood be- 
fore the door, my hand on the lock. 

"Horace, if you go to that woman to- 
night I shall not be here when you come 

"You must do as you think best." He 
put me gently aside, opened the door and 
closed it after him. 

December 1st 
If I could know just what I wrote — if 
I could remember the exact words! But 
I was almost crazed that night. I only 
[ 217 ] . 


know that I left a note — a bitter, passion- 
ate note— saying that I was going away 
and would never come back until he prom- 
ised unconditionally that he would never 
see that woman again. I did not wish him 
to know or try to find out where I was, 
but that any letter addressed to Mrs. R. 
L. Kempton, General Delivery, I would 
receive. But not to write unless it was 
to make the promise I demanded. I think 
that was all I said, but I do not know how 
I said it. 

Oh, why did I say he must not write 
unless he made that promise? If I had 
not said that he might have written some- 
thing — anything — that would have made 
it possible for me to go back. I know now 
I would go back under any pretext. Those 
five days have beaten me down — down. 
. . . If he would only write and make 
the promise — even though he broke it the 
next day. If I can only go back, I will 
be blind — blind! I will make no com- 
plaints, no reproaches. I will ask so lit- 


tie — so much less than I have ever asked 
before. I will accept any conditions if 
only I can be with him. 

December 2d 

For the sixth time in these four days I 
have gone over to New York to the city 
post-office, to the window marked "Gen- 
eral Delivery," and have asked if there is 
anything for Mrs. R. L. Kempton, and 
always the man answers "Nothing !" 

And now I am back in Brooklyn, in 
my hotel room, waiting, waiting for what? 
For the morning, when I will again jgo 
over to that post-office and again be told 
"Nothing!" What have I done? If he 
should never answer that letter — if he 
should never try to find me! 

For the first two days my fierce pride 
and bitterness kept me up. But now — 
now I am terrified at what I have done. I 
could have stayed — I could have seen him 
every day — every morning I could have 
been with him at breakfast, and many 
times at dinner. I could have had all his 


things about me, his room to straighten, 
his clothes to touch — to bury my face 
against! But now I have nothing — noth- 
ing. . . . How long can I live like 

December 3d 

The silent telephone — this telephone in 
my room. In all these six days -not once 
has it rung. Why should it? Who is 
there to call up Mrs. R. L. Kempton, in 
an obscure Brooklyn hotel? 

And yet the longing that it will ring is 
never quite out of my .mind, the hope that 
in some way he has found out where I 
am and has come to take me home. Day 
and night I dream of his coming, live 
through scene after scene in which he 
comes for me. I always think of a sud- 
den telephone ring, and the girl downstairs 
saying : "A gentleman is here to see you," 
or perhaps he will give his name, "Mr. 
Kennedy," or he may take the name I am 
under so there will be no question of his 
being my husband — of his coming to mjj 
[ 220 ] 


room. And then I will say: "You may ask 
the gentleman to come up." Sometimes 
I find myself saying it out loud. Then I 
picture him at the door, dream of his 
taking me in his arms, whispering: 
"Mary, my dear little wife, it is all a mis- 
take. There is no other woman in my life 
but you — there never will be. I have come 
to take you home, dear, never to let you 
go again." Hour after hour, walking up 
and down this bare hotel room, I rehearse 
• — live through scenes like that. 

And yet I am so sure, so piteously sure, 
that nothing like these dreams will ever 
happen. That the most I have to hope 
for is some pretext to go back — to go back 
to indifference and neglect — just to go 

December 4th 

I happened to open the drawer of the 
table in this room to-day. It is a cheap, 
shiny oak table, and the drawer, stuck by 
the varnish, opened reluctantly. Perhaps 
that is why the careless maid had not 


troubled to clear it out. It seemed to hold 
relics of several tenants. A couple of 
rusty pens, a wire hairpin, some matches, 
an empty cigarette box, the seven of 
spades from a pack of cards, some laun- 
dry-slips, and several sheets of hotel 
paper. Most of the paper was blotted, 
one sheet was covered with penciled fig- 
ures, another had "August 16th" written 
on the date line, on another some one had 
jotted down a telephone number — 6205 
Rector. In the back of the drawer was a 
folded sheet torn in two. By fitting it 
together, it read: 

Dear Minnie — Things look pretty hopeless. 
I saw Mack to-day, but it was just as I thought 
— nothing doing. He is pretty much of a bluff. 
I am to see Brandford to-morrow. Yesterday 
was Sunday and I tell you I felt mighty blue. 
I thought I would get a letter from you this 
morning ; haven't had one since Friday. I wish 
I had some good news to write. But keep up 
spirits, little girl, things may come right yet; 
they ought to for your sake. You've had a 

tough time, I knbw. If I can 

[ 222 ] 


And that was all. Why was it left un- 
finished? Had he written another and 
more cheerful note? I imagined him a 
man of mediocre ability, on here trying 
to get a position, writing back to his wife. 
She may have had a hard time, but he 
loved her. The "little girl" and the rest 
of the sentence shows that. I wonder if 
she realizes how little anything else mat- 
ters as long as she has love? How gladly 
I would go through any poverty and hard- 
ships if I could only feel that Horace loved 

As I tried to close the drawer, I saw a 
small newspaper clipping, which had been 
caught in the crevice at the side. 

St. Louis, June 12. — Alfred E. Baker, a 
traveling salesman for a New York woolen 
house, committed suicide in the Hotel Vendome 
here last night. He was found unconscious, a 
pistol still in his hand, and two bullet wounds in 
his side. He died on the way to the hospital. 
Several letters were found showing his de- 
spondency from ill health and family troubles. 


Why was this clipping here ? Had some 
one been in this room to whom the death 
of Alfred E. Baker brought sorrow or 
remorse? I closed the drawer with a shud- 
der. The room seemed full of ghosts — 
ghosts of past tenants. A small, cheap 
room in a medium-priced hotel — what a 
procession of humanity must have passed 
through here. What could these walls tell 
of discouragement and despair — what 
scenes have they looked down upon? 

Oh, Horace! Horace! I am filled with 
terror! Come after me; take me away 
from here; take me home and shield and 
protect me. Keep this strange fear of life 
— of I know not what — away from me. 
Oh, Horace, I am afraid — afraid! . . . 

December 5th 
As I was returning to-day from another 
futile trip to the post-office, too wretched 
and heartsick to care where I went, I 
walked aimlessly for several blocks. Turn- 
ing a corner I came upon a great crowd 


around an elevated station. The stairs and 
platform above were black with people. 
The whole atmosphere of the street was 
tense with excitement. "What has hap- 
pened?" a voice near me asked. "A wom- 
an threw herself before the elevated," some 
one answered. "They are trying to get 
her body from under the train." 

I turned and ran from the scene. The 
crushed body of a woman under those 
cars! What had she suffered to goad her 
to that? Why had she chosen so ghastly 
a way? Was it the cruelty of some man 
she loved? Oh, God! the suffering of 
women! If you are all-powerful, why do 
you let the creatures you create be crazed 
by the anguish of loving — an instinct you 
plant within them, and they are powerless 
to combat? 

December 6th 

My telephone has just rung, the first 

time in all these days. I was sitting by 

the window, gazing miserably down at the 

street below, when suddenly it rang out, 



startlingly shrill and clear. I stumbled to- 
ward it, my heart leaping in my throat. 
Was it Horace? Had he found me? . • . 

"Hello!" I called tremblingly. 

For a moment there was no answer. 

"Hello! Who is it? Hellor I cried 
again excitedly. 

And then in an operator's strident 
voice: "The hot water is going to be 
turned off for a couple of hours; they are 
fixing the boilers." 

I threw up the receiver and burst into 
tears, bitter, hysterical tears. It seems 
as though fate, not content with my suf- 
fering, is playing grimly, fiendishly with 
my emotions. 

December 7th 

Again I have been to the post-office, and 
again there was "nothing." Perhaps it 
was my white face and the thought of my 
daily calls that aroused the man's pity, for 
he said it almost reluctantly: "Nothing 
this morning." 

Oh, Horace — Horace — don't you care 
[ 226 ] 


what has become of me? How do you 
know that I have not thrown myself into 
the river or before some rushing train? 
How do you know I was not the woman 
who was yesterday crushed under the ele- 
vated? The papers this morning say: 
"An unknown woman of middle age, with 
clothes of good quality, but nothing by 
which to identify her." That might be I. 
How do you know it was not? Don't you 

December 8th 
I have heard his voice — his voice! 
Again and again during the long hours 
of these days I have stood by the telephone 
in this room, not daring to touch the 
receiver, but whispering "Horace — Hor- 
ace!" into the closed instrument, knowing 
that on his desk by his arm was a wire 
connecting this with him, and hoping in 
some vague way that he might feel some 
of the love and longing I was pouring in- 
to it. Again and again as I walk cease- 
lessly up and down this room, I have 


stopped to touch the cold instrument with 
my lips and cheek lovingly, beseechingly, 
as though to bribe it to give me some mes- 
sage from him. But it never has ; it hangs 
there cold and silent. 

To-day I touched the receiver, then my 
hand closed around it. I took it down. 
I did not know what I was going to do — 
all these days I had been fighting against 
what I now did in a sweeping, uncon- 
trolled moment. "2849 Cortlandt!" I 
whispered. With one hand I held the re- 
ceiver, with the other I supported myself 
against the wall or I would have fallen. 
It was four o'clock; would he still be at 
his office? 

Almost instantly came his secretary's 
voice: "Hello!" 

"Is— Mr. Kennedy— there?" I did not 
need to disguise my voice, so hoarse and 
strained it was; no one would ever have 
known it for mine. 

"Who wishes to speak to him?" 

I did not answer. 



"Who is this, please?" 

And then, as I still remained silent: 
"What name shall I give?" — impatiently. 

"I must speal^ to — Mr. Kennedy — my- 
self," I answered, hardly above a whisper. 
- Then quite distinctly I heard her say: 
"Mr. Kennedy, some one on the wire 
wishes to speak to you; they will not give 
their name." 

Another moment and I heard his voice 
— rich and full — the voice of my husband! 

"Hello! hello! Who is this?" 

I covered my mopth with my hand to 
keep from crying aloud, but my whole 
nature strained out to him in dumb appeal. 
Would he not feel who it was? Would 
not the tensity of the silence carry to him 
the thought . . . 

Again his voice: "Hello! This is Mr. 
Kennedy, Do you wish to speak to me?" 

Oh, the mute, straining prayer I sent 
over that wire! Would he not know? 
Would he not say: "Mary! Mary! is it 



Once more he called "Hello 1" Another 
throbbing silence, and then that faint click 
in the 'phone ; he had hung up the receiver ! 
He had not known — he had not known! 
I fell to the floor beneath the telephone. 

December 9th 
The atmosphere of this room seems so 
charged with my suffering, with the hours 
I have spent here walking up and down 
or gazing hopelessly out the window, that 
this afternoon I felt it was crushing, sti- 
fling me — that I must get away from it, if 
only for a little while. I locked my door 
and walked down the hall, -the dingy, red- 
carpeted hall. I did not take the elevator, 
but went down the stairs to the reception- 
room on the first floor. It is a dreary, in- 
hospitable place, with its stiff, upholstered 
furniture and faded satin hangings. 

I went over to a seat in an obscure cor- 
ner. People were passing in and out, but 
no one noticed me, no one even glanced 
toward me. A woman was writing 


souvenir postals at a desk near by. She 
was a pleasant-faced, middle-aged woman, 
in a gray traveling suit; her coat and muff 
lay on a chair beside her. In a few mo- 
ments a large, comfortable-looking man 
with a coat on his arm and carrying a grip 
appeared at the door. 

"Ready, Martha?" 

The woman smiled up at him. "In just 
a moment; I have only two more." 

"Take your time. We've half an hour 
to spare." He sat down beside her and 
waited patiently. He looked like a pros- 
perous citizen of some small town, who had 
brought his wife here buying or sight-see- 
ing, and they were now on their way back 

The woman gathered up her postals. 
"Do you know, I forgot that box of draw- 
ing-pencils for Fred. Do you suppose 
we could get them on the way to the de- 

"Why, I guess we can," he answered 
comfortingly. "Some of the smaller stores 


may be open." He helped her on with her 
coat, and they went off together. 

Just a plain, commonplace middle-aged 
couple; but they were together I And to 
me they seemed to radiate peace, content- 
ment and hornet I could almost see their 
comfortable home, with Fred and the other 
children waiting their return. 

Does that woman know how happy she 
is? She is not clone — she is with the man 
that loves her — not romantically (it may 
have been years since he has spoken a word 
of love), but still he loves her. I knew 
that by the way he said "Martha," by the 
way he put on her coat. She will never 
be alone as long as he lives. 

Why was that woman given peace and 
security in her husband's love, while I am 
here alone — alone — always alone? I find 
myself walking up and down this room, 
crying out to the walls that if I must suf- 
fer, let it be in some other way, but not this 
awful loneliness; anything but this — it is 


creeping through me with cold, petrify- 
ing fear. 

"The days when you were not — did they 
trouble you? The days when you are not 
shall trouble you only as much." 

That phrase has been with me all day. 
Oblivion — oblivion — would it mean only 
that? Cessation from suffering — oblitera- 
tion of all things? The woman who threw 
herself under that elevated — has she that 
now? Has she found the peace, the rest, 
the oblivion she sought, or is there no 
escape — must she still work out her des- 

December 10th 
Two letters! Two letters! One dated 
yesterday and one jive days ago! By some 
mistake it had been mislaid in the general 
delivery. This morning, instead of the 
usual "Nothing," the man handed me two 
envelopes. My heart stood still as I saw 
him take them from the box and come to- 


ward the window. I did not wait to hear 
his explanation as to why one had been 
delayed — I caught them up and almost 
ran out of the building and across the 
crowded street. 

The buildings, the traffic, the people, 
the sunshine, the whole world, seemed 
transformed. I could have cried aloud 
with joy — hysterical joy. And then I 
found myself saying: "If I can wait — if 
I can keep from opening them until I 
reach my room, they will contain all that 
I want; but if I read them now, they may 
be cold tffid bitter." As a child I used 
often to make some such bargain with 
fate, bribing her, as it were, by some great 
self-control, some sacrifice, to give me 
what I longed for. It has been years 
since I had such a thought, but now I 
clung to it with superstitious belief. I 
would force myself to wait until I readied 
my room. 

All the way to Brooklyn I held the let- 
ters before me, turning them over and 
[ 234 ] 


over, examining the postmarks, trying to 
wrest something of their contents from the 
way they were addressed. "Mrs. R. L. 
Kempton" — how strange that name 
looked in his writing I There was a blot on 
the last envelope — did that mean any- 
thing? And the stamp was not carefully 
placed — could that mean he was anxious 
and worried? He had not written at any 
length; each of the envelopes held but one 
sheet of paper. What did that imply? 

When at last I reached my hotel room, 
my trembling fingers could hardly unlock 
the door. What would the next few 
moments bring? I tore open the first en- 
velope and drew out the letter. Then I 
turned my face away. It meant so much — 
my whole future depended on that note — 
I was afraid — afraid to read itl 

I threw myself on my knees by the bed 
and murmured an incoherent little prayer. 
I had suffered so much, would God let 
this letter help me, and not let it make me 
suffer more? 

C 285 ]j 


And then I read these two letters — I pin 
them in here: 

December 5th 
Deab Maey — You have asked me not to try 
to find you, and I am respecting that wish. But 
you must write me at once where you are and 
let me come for you. I know you have not been 
well for some time. I am arranging my business 
so when you return we can go away for a little 
rest and change. I am sure it will help you. I 
shall look for a message to-morrow. 

As ever, 


December 9th 
Deab Mary — I have been waiting anxiously 
for some word. If I do not hear from you by 
the end of the week, I shall no longer feel bound 
by your request, and shall make every effort to 
find you. You must know I cannot let you re- 
main away like this. 

As ever, 


The notes are cold and colorless. They 
ignore entirely the promise which I made 


the condition of my return, and I know* 
now that I, too, must ignore it. 

So many conflicting emotions have pos- 
sessed me, since I tore open these notes a 
few hours ago. At first I was conscious 
only of joy — joy that they gave me, at 
least, a pretext to go back; and I wrote a 
long, emotional letter, in which I poured 
out my love and longing to see him, and 
something of what I had suffered here. 
But when I compared it with his brief, 
dispassionate notes, I saw how impossible 
it would be to send. Then I wrote an- 
other, and still another, each more sub- 
dued, less emotional, than the last, but still 
I tore them up. 

And then came the desire to make him 
say morej either by remaining silent, or 
writing without giving my address to in- 
crease his anxiety, perhaps even his love, 
for we sometimes grow to love again the 
thing we are about to lose. And so I 
wrote, saying briefly that I could not re- 
turn to the conditions I had left, and there 


had been nothing in his notes to assure 
me that they would be different. 

But I could not send this ; I had not the 
courage. It would mean more days of 
anguished uncertainty, and I have suf- 
fered too horribly here; I am afraid — 
afraid to stay. Let the conditions be what 
they may, I must go back. So, after 
spending two hours in writing and re- 
writing letters, only to tear them up, I 
ended by sending this one-line note on 
hotel paper: 

"I am here at this place, under the name 
of Mrs. R. L. Kempton." 



December 12tb 
Home — home! Oh, the clearness, the 
precious familiarity of it all I I have 
kissed every piece of furniture in my room, 
even the wallpaper and the curtains. I 
feel as though I wanted to caress every- 
thing in the house. This morning, after 
Horace had gone to the office, I went all 
over the house, simply touching things, 
greeting them, as it were, after my ab- 

My dear little French clock sat on my 
desk, silent and sad. As I took it from 
its leather case, I thought of my heart- 
sick fear that I wqul^d never wind it again. 
How cheerfully it started ticking I I am 
sure clocks must be unhappy when they 
are silent; they must feel there is noth- 
ing more useless than a silent clock. 


Oh, how good it is to feel that my place 
is here, that I have been needed and 
missed! Ellen is beaming; she cannot do 
enough for me. It seems that Horace told 
her I had been called away to a sick rela- 
tive. (But I believe she knows more than 
that. She is very loyal, though, and de- 
voted to me; I have no fear that she will 
gossip.) Persia has been following me 
all morning, rubbing against my dress and 
purring exuberantly, not leaving me for 
a moment, as though she was afraid I 
might go away again. 

And yet how trivial are all these de- 
tails! The one great thing, the thing that 
makes my heart leap with joy, is that 
Horace is glad to have me back. He is 
not demonstrative, as he would have been 
several years ago, but in a quiet, subdued 
way he is glad. Oh, I know that — I can 

I feel so safe, so secure, now that I am 
in my home. Already the memory of that 
room in Brooklyn seems infinitely far 
[ 240 ] 


away. I cannot realize that this time yes- 
terday I was there; it seems like months, 
or even years ago, or even more like some 
hideous dream. 

Oh, I am so happy just now! It has 
been so long since I have been happy, that 
I want to hold to these moments, hold to 
them desperately, to keep them from slip- 
ping away. 

December 15th 

I found "Amiel's Journal" on the libra- 
ry-table, where Horace had been reading 
last night. As I was replacing the book 
on the shelves, it fell open at a pencil- 
marked passage. I do not read French 
well, but this was not difficult to translate: 

"Destiny has two ways of crushing us — 
by denying our wishes and by fulfilling 

Why had he marked that? It is 
strangely like that epigram of John Oliver 
Hobbs. Of what was Horace* thinking 
when he read it? Was it something about 
her , or of me? Does he, too, make a per- 


sonal application of everything, as I do 

December 16th 
The happiness and sense of security I 
felt when I first came home is gradually 
slipping from me, and all the old tortur- 
ing thoughts of her are coming hack. 
Horace tries to he kind, hut I can see that 
he is even more worried and abstracted 
than ever before. 

Sunday, December 17th 
I have heard her voice. For one throb- 
bing moment I spoke to her over the tele- 
phone. This time by remaining silent my- 
self I forced her to speak. I do not know 
what I feel. Great waves of emotion have 
been sweeping over me ever since. It was 
near eleven when the telephone rang. I 
did not go down at once, for I thought he 
was there; he always spends Sunday morn- 
ing in the library, and I knew he had been 
there only a few moments before. But 
when the bell rang shrilly again and again, 


I hurried down. If it should be . . . 
I was trembling violently. Quickly it 
flashed over me that if I remained silent 
she would be forced to speak! 

I took down the receiver and waited. 
For several seconds there was no sound, 
and then a faint, soft voice called: 
"Hello!" Still I did not speak. And 
then the same voice: "Hello! hello, Cen- 
tral! I asked for 4629 River!" 

"Well, there they are — go on!" rasped 

Then I called clearly: "Hello! this is 
4629 River." I waited tensely. She must 
speak, now; it would be less suspicious 
than for her to remain silent. 

"Is — is Mr. Kennedy there?" I seemed 
to feel every throb of hesitation and fear 
in that tremulous voice. 

"Mr. Kennedy is not here just now. Is 
there any message?" I managed to say, 
but my voice was strained and hard. 

"No, thank you; it is not important. 

[ 243 ] 


For a long time after I hung up the 
receiver I stood there motionless. I 
seemed unable to move. She had known 
who I was! I felt that in her voice. Did 
she know I knew, too? 

When Horace came in about an hour 
later, I did not say that some one had tele- 
phoned. I could not. I knew I would 
betray myself if I did. 

December 18th 
What will be the end? What will the 
next few months bring? Again and again 
I ask myself that. This time next year, 
where will I be? Under what conditions 
will I be living? There is a two-years' 
calendar before me on my desk. I have 
just turned over to a year from to- 
night (Wednesday, December 18th), and 
marked the date and hour. A year from 
to-night at the same time — half -past ten — 
I will again write on that leaf. It is a 
small calendar; I will carry it wherever 

[ 244 1 


I go. There is a little comfort in know- 
ing that it will be with me. Until the daily 
tearing off of the leaves brings me to that 
page, I will not turn to it. So when next 
it is before me a year will have passed, and 
I will know. 

Will Horace be far away from me then, 
and will I be longing heart-hungrily for 
even the little of his companionship that 
I have now? Will I look back upon this 
night as comparatively happy, beside the 
utter desolation of that? Will I feel then 
that it would be an unspeakable joy just 
to know that I would see him in the morn- 
ing, as I know now that I will, even 
though it be for only a few brief words at 

December 19th 

I have seen a child beating its hands 
•against a door in wild, impotent rage. I 
think that is how I now feel toward life. 
I am beating myself against barriers be- 
fore which I am powerless; I am wearing 


out my strength, my vitality, fighting con- 
ditions that only elude and baffle me. 

December 20th 
I am sick, sick with strained emotions. 
To-day it is the sensation one has when a 
too-smooth-running elevator stops with a 
sickening lurch. There is in it, too, some- 
thing of a nameless fear and terror. The 
lump that came spasmodically now seems 
permanently lodged in my throat. 

I know now that the believers in the 
creed that mind controls the body are 
right. If it could be proven to me that 
my husband was not unfaithful, that there 
was no other woman in his life, I would 
be well, perfectly well. 

Her voice haunts me constantly. Even 
over the telephone it was very low and 
soft. Somehow I have always pictured 
her as tall and "striking." But now I 
think of her as small and slight. And I 
know it is the type of woman, the frail, 


delicate woman, who would appeal to him 

December 22d 

He has gone. I do not know where, or 
when he will return. Last night at mid- 
night a telegram came. There was a loud 
ring at the door; the maids had gone to 
bed, but the light still burned in his room. 
I heard him go downstairs. Half an hour 
later he knocked at my door. When I 
opened it he stood there with a small 
satchel in his hand. He was very pale. 

"A telegram has just come that calls 
me out of town at once. I may have to 
be away several days. You will not be 
worried ?" 

There was something like an appeal in 
his voice; something that seemed to ask 
me to help him — to make it easier. Al- 
most unconsciously I responded: 

"No — no; I will not be worried." 

Then I heard the front door close after 
him. I was alone. Alone — more alone 
than I had ever been before. Had he gone 


to her? Why had she sent for him at mid- 
night? When would he come back? 
Would he come back at oil? All the long 
night I wandered from room to room 
through that silent house. In the hall I 
found the yellow envelope of the telegram, 
but it told me nothing. It bore only the 
address. He had not made even a pre- 
tense of an excuse; he had not tried to say 
it was a business matter. He had said 

December 24th 
Two days and no word. I know now 
that nothing I suffered while he was here 
could equal this anguish of the unknown. 

December 25th 
Still no word. I am waiting quivering- 
ly for every sound of the bell and tele- 
phone. How strangely the holly-wreaths 
look in the windows across the way I Can 
this be Christmas? 

December 27th 
He has come back. 



How can I put the last twenty-four 
hours into words? Will it help me if I 

Last night as I wandered about the 
house, as I have done every night since 
he left, I chanced to go downstairs. From 
under the library door shone a light. I 
was not frightened. I knew he was there. 
A great joy flooded through me. He had 
come back; nothing mattered but that. 
And then very softly I knocked at the 
door. There was no answer. I turned 
the knob. It was not locked. He was 
sitting before his desk, his head bowed on 
his folded arms. He must have heard me 
cross the room, but he did not look up. 
Gently I touched his shoulder; even then 
he did not move. 

"Horace I" My voice rang out with a 
sudden fear. Then, for a moment, he 
raised his head. It was the face of my 
husband, but it was blanched and drawn 
almost beyond recognition. 
[ 249 ] 


I groped my way from the room. For 
hours I sat huddled on the stairs. The 
only feeling of which I was clearly con- 
scious was a longing to be near him. No 
sound came from the library. After a 
while the clock in the hall struck three — 
a deep, muffled sound. And again that 
tense stillness settled over the house. 

At dawn once more I crept down to 
the library and opened the door. His head 
was still on his arms, and I knew that in 
all these hours he had not moved. Still 
without speaking I went over and knelt 
beside him. If he would let me stay there 
— if he would only let me stay! And then 
for the first time I noticed the bright steel 
of a revolver on the desk before him. With 
a cry of horror I caught it up. He raised 
his head. 

"No, I have fought that all out. You 
need not be afraid." And then, in a voice 
that was almost cold: "She died yester- 
day at the hospital. The child died with 



January 16th 
I am going to stay. I am going to 
stay because he needs me. I cannot write 
of these last two weeks. But I have lived 
them; they are past. And life can hold 
nothing now from which I would shrink. 
I believe I could walk unflinchingly on 
red-hot coals; that I can suffer no more. 
After that night in the library he went 
away. He was gone five days. I do not 
know where. But I knew he had gone to 
be alone with his grief. Sometimes I pic- 
tured him by her grave. But I shall never 
know. We will never speak of that again. 
No word or reference to what has been 
will ever pass between us. Before he came 
back he sent me a letter, and I knew then 
it was the only statement he would ever 
make. The letter I destroyed, but every 
word is burned in my memory: 

I have no explanations to make now or ever. 

Of my own weakness, of my unfaithfulness to 

you and cruelty to her, you must think what 

you will. I do not offer it as an excuse when 



I say that in all these years there was never 
any one else — that you know. She knew that 
too — it was all she had. I loved her. That I 
did not love her enough to shield her from my- 
self, I shall suffer for as long as I live. 

It sounds like mockery to say I loved you, 
too ; and yet for you I sacrificed her. Could I 
have been with her through all these months I 
believe she would not have died. For two days 
before the last she was delirious, and had I never 
known before the strength and purity of her 
love for me, I would have known it then. From 
the beginning the fault was mine — all mine. She 
did not know that I was bound, until it was too 

You may wonder why, when I have tried to 
keep this from you all these months, I should 
tell you now when it can do no good. I can 
only say that something stronger than any vo- 
lition of my own forces me to acknowledge to 
you now the love that, for your sake, I tried 
to deny while she lived. 

I expect nothing but that you will leave me. 
Your legal freedom is yours for the asking. 
Half of everything I have has been put in your 
name. This I did months ago. The income 
will be more than sufficient for your needs. 

But should you feel that you could stay — 


or that some day you could come back • • . 
I have nothing to offer you except the ghost of 
our former life, and yet the future would not 
seem quite so blank if I felt that you were still 
with me. I have relinquished all right to your 
love, even to your pity. But if there is any 
hope left in me, it is the hope that you will 


[ 258 ] 







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